People look at my pictures and comment, “You must like to hike!”
I usually hesitate to answer. I smile stupidly.
I mean, I think I like to hike…but it sure seems like a slow way to get someplace.
At least half of you reading, scattered along a particular bell shaped curve, won’t get this, but there comes a time when you realize you’ve passed your physical peak, and that you will never be as strong or fast or resilient as you used to be.
Lately, when I find myself on a trail, I feel like…maybe up ahead… there is a younger faster version of me making good time. I’m trying hard to catch up, but I can’t. I just keep falling further and further behind. Frequently I stop and wipe the sweat from my forehead and pretend to take photographs while I catch my breath. Maybe one of the less obvious definitions of residual vanity is, “One who consciously regulates breathing while encountering oncoming hikers so as not to appear winded.”
But no matter how far behind I get – no matter how pitiful the labor - I can’t stop.
I’ve been relying fairly heavily on the Portland Hikers Field Guide for some much needed direction, but this time, I found a useful article by the Oregonian’s Terry Richard.
It has concise clear directions for a loop that swings through an area referred to as the Labyrinth. Though the hike does wind through some basalt outcroppings, it isn’t exactly an unsolvable maze.