HIKING HONEYMOON - NOT
Every couple has their one 'issue'. You know, the one 'fight' that when it begins both parties throw their hands up in the air immediately in that 'here we go again' kind of way. When this fight begins it seems like it will never end. Each side, despite how smart or talented in debating, argues the same points over and over again. This fight lasts until the bitter end or until eventually someone gives up and goes to bed. When the lights are out and one of the two parties sighs dramatically in the dark - back turned - there is always the other person that just can't let it go saying, 'Well...I still think that...' and it all begins again. You know those fights. Our topic for fighting now and again is of all wacky things - hiking.
Forgive me for all you hardcore hikers out there, I know this sounds ignorant but I just don't 'get' hiking. The few times I've been have resulted in heavy breathing, sweating, inclement weather, slippery footing, ankles twisting, cuts from branches, blood, starvation (ok well almost), dehydration, getting lost and bugs. My god the bugs. When hiking people like E say to me, 'but what about the view?' When I hear this I want to throw a boulder at someone. Seriously. Someone take a photo and show me later. I'll meet you back at the camp where I will be reading and enjoying a nice cup of coffee by the fire.
I used to think it was because I am lazy but I don't think that is it. I just don't like it. I admire people that do it and in fact I am a little jealous. When E and I first started dating he suggested we go hiking and stay in a little B&B for the weekend somewhere out of the city. The idea sounded fantastic. At the time my hiking issues hadn't fully come to a head and plus when you are first dating someone you pretend you like everything they do so they ask you out again.
I headed straight to EMS the outdoor gear store to pick up all the hiking necessities aka some hiking outfits - new boots, windbreaker, etc. I may not have been experienced in this whole hiking thing but boy was I going to look great. Talk about 'revealing all' on your first weekend away together. Halfway through the mild hike E chose for us I had a complete meltdown. My new boots gave me blisters. I was out of shape. I was starving and tired. The bugs were sticking to the sweat on my neck. I couldn't catch my breath and yelled, 'This SUCKS!' and couldn't stop crying. I too am surprised the guy married me.
The second time we went hiking I was still in new relationship mode and while it was clear I wasn't the biggest fan of hiking I was still willing to try. Unfortunately, I couldn't have picked a more intense hiking crew than the people we were with on the trip. One couple had just returned from the mountains of Ecuador where they were living and hiked miles every day to get anywhere. The other couple was training for a triathlon. The third couple just returned from a three month stint hiking on the Appalachian trail. And then E and I. E was amazing and encouraging throughout the entire hike going at my pace which was about two steps every five minutes. It was as if I was giving birth. Eventually one of the bionic women we were hiking with bounded down the mountain in the time it took me to get half way asking if I wanted a banana. A banana? I couldn't even breath or talk lady but thanks anyway.
Did I mention I even brought up this whole hiking issue in our recent wedding vows? Oh yes I did. I said something along the lines of, 'I promise to love you forever and ever even though I might not ever go hiking with you EVER again'. People at the wedding laughed because they thought I was trying to be funny. But I wasn't. Ha.
Yesterday E and I took a lovely drive through the various small towns of Maine. It was a beautiful, sunny day but windy. In our travels we came across a small town here that is a famous pit stop for hikers traveling along the Appalachian trail from Georgia to Maine. (kill me now) I didn't see many women but did see many, many men - dirty and long bearded. Small packs on their backs lining up at telephone booths and stocking up on supplies.
K: So wait...these hikers hike for months???
E: Yes. They are hiking from Georgia to Maine. It's a long trip.
K: I wonder what it is like to date those guys...
Our car drove along and passed two hitchhikers that we quickly made eye contact with - two lanky, dirty, long bearded guys around our age or younger that obviously were part of hiking the Appalachian trail. E guessed they were hitchhiking to from town where they had gathered their supplies back to the trail. Something about the two guys seemed sweet. One guy had a fire red head of hair and long beard and the other guy just seemed young and happy.
E: Should we go back and get them?
K: I don't know. Should we? What if they kill us.
E: They are prob hoping we don't kill them.
K: Ok lets do it. Go back and get them.
E: You know these dudes are going to smell pretty ripe, right?
K: That's fine. Roll down the windows.
We swung the car around and picked the guys up. They were so thankful and so nice. And yes - smelly.
K: How long have you guys been hiking?
Guy#1: Oh...since early April
K: WHAT? 6 months???
Guy#1: (laughs) Yup.
K: Do you ever just freak out and want to go home?
Guy#2: (laughs) Yup. Pretty much daily.
I was stunned talking to them. It was so fascinating. I almost didn't want to drop them off despite their smell. These are men that hike every day. This is what they do. They make small pit stops here and there but see only around nine or ten people a day. One guy was from Virginia and the other Connecticut. The guy from Virginia had a girl back home and the guy from Connecticut met a girl on the trail.
Guy#2: Yeah...I met her on the trail. But she is three days ahead of me.
E: Wow - she is really kicking your ass.
Right before we dropped the guys off E told them we were on our honeymoon.
Guy#1: Oh that's cool! Congrats! We just ran into a couple that were on their honeymoon hiking the trail. You guys should do it!
E/K: (exchanging smirks)
K: Ah...no. Don't think we'd last too long on that one.
If he only knew.