I'd had a lot to learn my first time on the trails. (Hence the trail name - virgin hiker) I really had no clue as to what to expect. I was hardly even appropriately dressed. Someone should have told me that a baseball cap, jeans, tennis shoes, t-shirt, a light jacket and one 32 oz. bottle of water (and that seemed sufficient to me) would hardly be considered properly attired for a day hike. I mean, how hard could it be? I wasn't given the do's and don'ts of hiking. What did I know, I just jumped in feet first, at the offer to go on a hike and thought I was just going to get out and enjoy the outdoors. I didn't know I needed "hiking" gear. GEAR? Hiking boots, (waterproofing, optional but strongly encouraged), hiking poles (you mean those sticks that skiers use?) a day-pack (for day hikes) filled with water (that's a no-brainer), bug spray, hat, bandanna, whistle, flashlight, compass, knife, weatherproof jacket, gloves...and the list goes on and on. Am I going on a hike or camping? I had no clue but it seemed as if I might need to work on my biceps to carry all that stuff.
The backstory - I was strongly encouraged to make a change in my diet and get more exercise and this seemed like the right idea (at the time). Living sure does a number on the body. I thought I was doing pretty well so this idea of having to get more exercise, Hello! - I work 8 hours a day already, initially didn't set well with me. So, now between all my other "responsibilities" I would need to squeeze in some more "me" time? Boy was I in for a surprise.
I am not a person who likes to get up at dawn and go to the gym or run on a treadmill before going to work. I am not a morning person. ‘Nuff said. But hiking had its appeal so they said. (Whoever "they" are, do your own homework first would be my advice.) Get out and get moving and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. Why not. Why indeed. I would still have to get up early, I would still have to prepare for the hike, carry the right gear, enough water, snacks, bananas and orange juice (to combat leg cramps) and more water if it's hot, less water if it's cold, a warmer jacket, a lighter jacket, a baseball hat or a hat with wings (to stave off the potential sunburn), long sleeves, short sleeves... (Really?) There was much more thought involved than just hopping outta bed and hopping onto the home gym equipment. I became a glutton for the punishment of preparing for a day on the trails AND it still involved getting up early. (Did I mention that already?) The trade-off of sitting on an inanimate object to get my muscles in shape versus actually stepping outside my comfort zone and challenging myself to conquer my fears and broaden my horizons? I’ll take the latter.
Nature has a way of drawing you in, the pull undeniable. It's evident by my many trips on the same trails because there is always something new to see. I too, am drawn to the outdoors in ways that I would have never imagined. So I get up and brave whatever Mother Nature has planned. Sounds like this virgin hiker has the potential to become a Hiking Junkie.