Seven Questions I Ask Myself Before Day Hiking With Friends
Picture this: a day hike in early spring with temps in the mid 70’s and plenty of sun. The group is comprised mostly of city kids turned suburb dwelling young professionals. Hiking is a novelty for most. I am proud of my thru-hiker status but I don’t want to look like a “Serious Hiker” which leads to questions that make me feel like I’m trying to figure out what to wear for the first day of high school.
- Can I wear cotton? Yes. Everyone else will be wearing cotton shirts and risk of hypothermia is scant on our four mile hike.
- Should I wear jeans? Serious Hiker me says no and I don’t argue.
- Can I wear hiking sandals? No–my pair have only been on sidewalks and I don’t want to test their stylishly thin straps. I settle on my CDT shoes. They are old, their tread is bald and falling off in places, and each shoe has three extra holes in it. They are trustworthy.
- Should I wear make-up? No again, says Serious Hiker me, but I know I will. I decide to go lightly covered, just some fondation…a sweep of mascara…some liner…and a touch of gloss–for it’s SPF.
- What about deodorant? My usual answer is yes at the office and no when I’m anywhere else and a hike in the state park is clearly not in the office. I apply it. The others will have used their lotions and potions before leaving their homes. And we’re carpooling.
- What accessories should I wear? I don a pair of wood and metal earrings and a chunky wood bracelet. They don’t lend me an earthy woodsy vibe like I’d hope, but I leave them, because if I don’t have an earthy woodsy vibe after six summers spent on trail I’m never going to.
- And my hair? It falls to the middle of my back so leaving it down isn’t an option. I braid it into a crown on top of my head. It’s either a nod to my triple crown or it’s the easiest and most secure way to keep my hair off my neck, out of my face, and won’t give me a headache. And I’m ready to go.
These questions, and their variants, plague me everytime I hike with someone new. I try to fit in, to hide a part of who I am, while still trying to be that person. I try to hide my Serious Hiker side, but she still appears: I hike too fast and I don’t get winded, and I can’t help but give my two cents when I overhear people talking about whether they should thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
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