Hiking For Fun…Really?

I will admit it without any hesitation: I don’t get hiking as a fun pasttime.
Backpacking always seemed to me to be a wierd activity. You load up this really heavy thing to carry around on your backside, and then proceed to try and climb to higher elevations (presumably) or into the woods in order to sleep outside or in a tent (deliver me from that scenario), all in the pursuit of some naturalist type of experience.
Personally, I think that viewing the wilds from a comfortable deck while sipping something yummy works equally well, if not moreso, since you don’t have to waste all of that time doing the hiking part. Nor do you need to carry all of that stuff and do the work necessary to make it all into a “home away from home”.
My mother used to be amazed at the thought of people doing this type of thing. She grew up in a house without a bathroom, and hiking to the outhouse was quite enough for her. To think that some people would actually find pleasure in what she had endured as a child made no sense to her.
I have to say that it is equally as baffling to me.  When I was five years old I had the distinct displeasure of having to use that outhouse behind my grandmothers’ home.  Still considered rural, the local environs were only just catching up to what people in the city took for granted.  It’s astonishing still to think that so many people were in that situation well into the last half of the 20th century. 

I used to joke that my idea of camping included a pool and room service, and it most definitely did not involve something that I had to carry on my back.  Some friends of mine from the 70’s went backpacking on their honeymoon.  Think about it…honeymooning in a sleeping bag.  I was flabbergasted by the thought of it. 

Now that I live in the desert, it’s even more unnerving to think that people will hike for pleasure in the heat and prickly pears and cacti…I so do not get it.  Sedona is nearby, and I can appreciate wandering up a trail, perhaps, to see the red rocks up close.  Still, I’m not convinced.  I may give it a go, just so I can say I’ve done it.  Much like the “camping” I did in college out in Joshua Tree National Forest.  The wind blew the big tent down, and I ended up sleeping in my ’63 T-bird.  It rocked in that wind all night long,  while I was hoping to survive and vowing to never do it again.
I know the hills will be alive with the summer escape, and that millions (is that too much?) will be heading into the national parks for these grand adventures. Trailers and campers alike will hit the road in pursuit of the great outdoors.
For my part, there’s a pool outside that does include a short “hike”… from my apartment. I have to pass by the fitness center to get there, though, and that is another issue to be confronted on a different day.


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