Today is TAKE A HIKE DAY. I don’t understand why whoever is in charge of thinking up hokey holidays put this day in the middle of November. Where I live, it’s COLD. But, I guess I can’t complain, since the job of thinking up hokey holidays isn’t mine. But I will make a slight tweak to this holiday...just one word. THINK (instead of Take) A HIKE DAY. Now that’s a lot more bearable.
With that one word change, you can now stay in the luxury of your home, wrapped in a quilt in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate and just THINK, instead of putting on those hiking boots. I’m thinking right now of a memorable hike we did just last month with three other families. It will be remembered by most of us (except a 4 year old who got carried) as the HIKE FROM HELL!
We’d done a 5 mile hike (or bike for some) to Loon Lake. It had been quite enjoyable. We’d hiked through a stunning burnt forest with white and black trees in red fall ground cover. We’d seen creeks and grassy areas, then traversed through shady evergreen forests. When we reached the lake we ate lunch and sat and thrilled to the view and some rest, knowing we had to go back those same 5 miles we’d come.
Someone in our group suggested hiking around the lake to where a crashed WWII plane lay in the forest beyond. The beginning of the trail going there should have given us a clue (or warning). The lake emptied there and some stones and precarious logs had been stacked across, still letting the water through to the creek, but giving hikers a chance to cross without getting wet (if you’re a tightrope walker). Everyone decided to go, except 3 of us (Yours truly among the three wimps who stayed).
I felt a little twinge of regret as I watched the others leave…but my friend didn’t want to take her 3 year old over that log jam, and I didn’t want to leave her alone (at least that’s what I said to be noble). Truthfully, my feet already hurt and I didn’t want to go one step further than I had to since I knew we still had several hours back to the trailhead.
The others had assured us they’d be quick. My friend’s husband said, “We’ll be back in 30 minutes. Ten minutes to get there, 10 minutes to let the kids look around, then 10 minutes to get back.”
My friend and I had a relaxing time sitting by the lake watching her 3 year old eat dirt and play with bugs. We kept glancing around, hoping to see a sign of the rest of our group, but to no avail.
TWO HOURS LATER…the first of them came straggling back, covered in mud and scratches and looking battle worn. The dirty kids went into the lake, not caring about shoes or socks (they were already caked in knee deep mud, which wouldn’t come off in the water). That easy 10 minute trail had turned into muddy swamp and fallen trees from a fire a few years ago. They had doggedly kept going, knowing that any second they would come upon the wrecked aviation carnage.
Beware the words: “We’re almost there!” They are NEVER true!
Those poor souls kept going forward, knowing they “were almost there.” Their 10 minute hike became a 2 hour ordeal that left several with bloody wounds…and all of them utterly exhausted. My friend and I were quite rested and ready to head back when they returned. But all of those who had gone on that SHORT hike, dragged the rest of the 5 miles back to the trailhead, grumbling and mumbling under their breath about that DANG PLANE.