Personal Essay: Adventures of a Chubby Hiker
Hiking, I thought, would be a great way to not only stay fit but to lose a few pounds in the process. I have a friend who is gung-ho about hiking and encourages the world to join her saying persuasive things like “it’s only 4 miles”, but what is not researched is the terrain of those 4 miles.
Ignorantly we agree and happily trundled off to the excitement of the great outdoors. Our party of 4 adults and 4 teenagers set off with a ring of happiness in the air.
As a first-time hiker, hiking boots were going to be the thing to buy if this thing stuck. Did you know that running shoes slip and slide on moss covered rocks? Just sayin’.
Not only am I slightly on the chubby side, but I have the impediment of a blind right eye. Ever tried to see 3 dimensionally, crossing rocky terrain with one eye closed? I know you’re all trying it now. Our hiking companions heard a high pitched “WOO” intermittently but continuously, for 9 hours, throughout the 4 miles of up and down, mosquito ridden heights and rock covered depths of despair. Let me tell you what I mean.
Mile 1: heady fresh air, forests, and an easy downhill lope. Happiness reigns.
Mile 2: made it down the ravine, knees a little sore, had a few rest stops, but still enthusiastic.
Mile 2 and half: We’ve gone halfway up the mountain and back down not once, not even twice but 6 times! One of the teenagers is having a meltdown, my legs are starting to shake, and I’ve handed my backpack to anyone that will take it.
My husband is now walking with 2 backpacks and smiling like this is a walk in the park. I’ve berated him a few times that he isn’t breathing heavily.
Mile 3: Don’t talk to me. Just give me my chocolate and stay out of my way while I sit on this rock and contemplate the meaning of life right now.
Mile 3 and a half: Finally, FINALLY we are ascending.
Mile 3 and a half plus 100 yards: I. can’t. breathe. I’m being warned about the swarms of mosquito’s while I sit to rest and I just don’t care. Come at me you bastards.
Mile 3 and half plus 150 yards: Does anyone have an asthma pump? Anyone?
Mile 3 and half plus 200 yards: Yip, 200 freaking yards of vertical hell. I think we made it. I’m alive.
Mile 4: The wind has picked up and an icy driving, rain is coming at me horizontally. The men have left us to get the car saying they’ll come back and fetch us. The teenagers ran swiftly ahead an hour ago and are probably having their dumb cup of coffee while my friend and I hobble up the last stretch hoping for imminent warmth and comfort.
Many women say after having their first child that they will never do it again but give it a few weeks or months and you’re planning your next one. Hiking is like that, I think. At the time, you think “Never again!”, but just give it a few months. Bought me some boots.