To Hike Or Not To Hike?
Is That Even A Question?
There are certain days when the plans I make for myself don’t exactly match the plans of the universe. On those days following a set schedule becomes as easy as rolling a 500 pound, granite boulder uphill. Although I was determined to exhaust myself with a long and strenuous hike, I got sucked into the daily grind and found myself at the Tuesday growers
market shortly after noon.
Given the time of day, I just about canned my grandiose adventure of roaming wildly through the woods, until I heard the whisper of a deceased Ashland legend. While the words, “To Hike or Not to Hike?” seemed cheesy and over dramatized, the questions being asked was indeed a
righteous one. Would I rather go hiking or sit around sulking about disrupted plans? In that instant I understood what needed to be done.
Like a raging hurricane I grabbed a jar of homemade, hippie, green smoothie, jumped into my beat-up Honda and headed for the hills.
Destination: Pacific Crest Trail 17 miles up highway 66 just before Green Springs Inn. I chose this location because it relatively close to town, beautiful, and not a destination hike meaning that I could hike, as long or as little as I desired without feeling guilty about not making all the way.
As I pulled off at the trailhead I noticed a large rain cloud heading straight for me. After a moment of hesitation, I heard more words of wisdom. Only this time they were not from the dead, but from my mother. These words reminded me that I was “not made of sugar,” and that I should get out of my car because the chances of me “melting” were almost non-existent. As I took my first few steps along the narrow, earthy trail my gloominess began to dwindle until it dissipated altogether. I was joined by a mysterious, but friendly pooch that followed me for a while and then disappeared in the same way he appeared, unnoticed.
I took a series of deep breaths. While one nostril inhaled the sweet, sappy aroma of a nearby Doug fir, the other one picked the scent of damp dirt and musky mushrooms. As I continued tromping along with my eyes gazing at the thickets of dried thimbleberry bushes, I scanned the foliage in hopes of finding a morsel of the red fleshy thimble that tastes so
decadent. Given how late in the season it was, I had to settle on nibbling a few shriveled huckleberries from a nearby bush. The dark, chalky berries were of course no substitute for the thimble; however, they were sweet and therefore enjoyable.
From time to time the rain cloud above spat a few drizzly drops at me. I watched the perfectly symmetrical droplets plop down onto my bright red rain jacket and then splash off onto the forest floor below. These same drops, which seemed evil only 20 short minutes ago, now appeared innocent as though each individual drop was its own kiss descending from the heavens and greeting me as it burst. It was at that moment that I realized how happy I felt to be hiking. From now on when I hear the words of Shakespeare, I will know that “To Hike Or Not To Hike?” is not even a question!