Yep, that’s me in the middle of the woods on a mountain. You might be wondering how I got here. Well… I went on a hike. Now that I’ve been on a hike, I’d like to ask….
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A HIKE?!?!? WHY ARE THERE HIKES? WHO IS PERPETUATING THIS?
Going on a hike confirmed all of my suspicions about hikes. They are walking to a place, stopping to appreciate that you’ve walked to the place, and walking back. That was my only suspicion, but it was definitely confirmed.
“We’ve walked to the place.”
I feel like hiking is something an ancient would be most disappointed by were one to be transported to the present.
Ancient one: It looks like people are still walking? This is still a thing?
Present man: We are, but with increased difficulty to enhance the enjoyment.
Ancient one: Humankind is a failed experiment. It’s all for naught. Take me back, please.
Present man: It’s going to be a small walk back to the time machine.
Ancient one: UUUUGGGHHHHHH!!!!
One good thing about the hike was that the lack of cell phone signal kept me from checking my phone to see what Donald Trump was up to. Donald Trump is that little background process that is always running but you never notice until you notice your computer is running slowly, open up task manager, and see that some little program you forgot you installed is eating up all your memory. Donald Trump is eating up all my memory. I know this because I’ve forgotten what it is to think about anything but him.
We took these dogs with us on the hike. “We” is me and my friends, Inkoo and Dan. Hiking, as far as I could tell by looking at all the other hikers on the mountain is always a group activity. Mob mentality makes people do crazy things. A solo person considering hiking will always turn open Netflix instead. “Maybe there’s a good show on Netflix about people hiking. There is. There is a good show about people hiking. It’s a Danish reality show that was co-produced by Netflix and for some reason has Rob Schneider in it. OK, let’s do this.”
Taking the dogs on the hike was hilarious to me because they had no idea they were going on a hike. They just got out of the car and into an hours-long excursion that they had no choice in. That’s just a dog’s life. But hiking is what dogs do, anyway. Most of their life is walking to a place, appreciating they’ve walked to the place, and walking back.
Sometimes people will ask you if you want to go for a walk. A walk is similar to a hike, but it isn’t a hike. A walk is a hike without any element of danger and with the increased likelihood of advice. On a hike, anything could go wrong at any time. You might roll your ankle, you might get dehydrated, or you might even realize that you’ve forgotten to DVR that show and can’t set it now because there’s no signal for your phone. The stakes are high. On a walk, the biggest threat is potential for an awkward silence. On hikes there are no awkward silences because the air is filled with heavy breathing from people too winded to talk to each other but too proud to admit it.
I’m actually really glad I went out with Inkoo and Dan on our trek up a very small piece of Mt. Tamalpais. Even though I think the word hike exists expressly to absolve people of having to describe the activity (“What do you mean you want me to go on a rocky, mostly uphill walk through an itchy grove with you? A GROVE?”), I really did enjoy the couple hours of being away from everything. We went on July 4th, so it was a peaceful counterpoint to the explosive clatter the night would bring, and it was an excellent way to end the four-day weekend during which I don’t think I left the apartment before going on the hike. And after the hike, we got to drive up to the top of the mountain to take in this view.