2nd Trail Update: Hiker Musings

Hello friends,

As much as my father’s joking questions about scaling mountains terrified me on our drive to Georgia – he left me on the Springer Mountain Approach Trail with some sage wisdom – always be curious and ask lots of questions of those around you.

This advice has since been simmering in the back of my mind… yet one glaring roadblock stands in the way of this seemingly simple plan: I’m an extreme introvert and spend much of my waking life still learning to switch on my socialization function.

To this day, my preloaded software experiences many crashes, requiring frequent restarts and updates. For me, asking strangers lots of questions is a challenge and a half. Throw that in the mix of learning how to hike, camp, and be woodland creature? Fahgeddaboutit! If 40% of daily human energy expenditure goes to using an organ called the brain, and out here, we’re burning roughly 5,000,000 calories to walk and carry a pack all day, I’ll need to start eating more! …but that means more to carry, hmmm…

I’m figuring one possible way around my aforementioned roadblock is to completely avoid the following rapid-fire question sequence (most commonly asked by the curious zoo-patrons who get too close to us animals on trail… please note, this assumes they’re not looking at us as they would feral raccoons):

Q1: *seeing our purple thru-hiker tag* are you a thru-hiker?/are you hiking the whole way?
A1: You saw the tag!! You’re close enough to smell me!! Need more hints Sherlock?? This answer is not complete without internal screaming. Please note, in reality, thru-hikers will actually answer with a pleasant ‘yes’ or ‘you betcha!’ Despite the frequency at which we field this question, we are still real people with real feelings and try our best to maintain a pleasant demeanor!
Q2: where are you from?
A2: *Insert wherever you are from* and a quick quip or fun fact regarding your state or country of origin.
Q3: what do you do in real life?
A3: Ummm… Hike? I am currently hiking, and I believe this is real life? …it is worth noting, the less sarcastic hikers skip this answer and gleefully tout the profession which has granted them copious time off for this endeavor. (As you have probably guessed, I tend more toward sarcasm. However, I always end up in a fit of laughter before my punchline and will wind up blabbing on about my life story/precisely how I landed at my exact GPS coordinates to whichever unfortunate soul asking these questions).

In the midst of learning how to rough it in the wilderness, I’m attempting to take my father’s advice to heart. Together, let’s set our intentions to ask each other more questions *aloud* and foster a more curious community!

I am opting for the following few questions to bond with my fellow hikers, and of course, the readers who would like to comment!! Below are some of my favorite responses for your enjoyment:

Q4: what are you most excited for over the next 6 months?
A4: Immediately – climbing Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies, it is the highest point on the trail! Longer term – meeting up with friends and family along the way to share this adventure with them.
Q5: what is something in your pack you acquired on the trail – never expecting you’d need – but now can’t live without?
A5: some kitchen sponges with a *gentle* scrubby side. Great for scouring then wiping the dirt/sweat off the body at the end of the day while also exfoliating! …this is the same as a loofah, right??
Q6: what has been your favorite hike outside of this one?
A6: Angel’s Landing in Zion NP. (This hiker considers themself fortunate for scaling those cliffs before a permit was required there!)

Happy trails!
*a very burnt* Bagel

P.s. It has recently been quite sunny in the North Carolina mountains, so I will add a personal subpart to A5: sunscreen to prevent further toasting. Highly recommend!

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Comments 1

  • thetentman : Apr 7th

    You are learning. Progress. You will be in the Land of Your People one step at a time. Good luck!



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