Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Actually, These Boots Aren't Made For Walking

I went on a hike yesterday.

That sentence alone will probably result in numerous phone calls from anyone that knows me, inquiring about my mental state. Some will wonder if perhaps there was a monetary reward involved, or if Rigel lured me there with the false promise of a steak cookout and simultaneous full-body massage. There'll be a few religious fanatics who may view it as a sure sign of the apocalypse and in the next few days will be stocking their homes with bottled water, canned goods and all five seasons of American Idol on DVD.

As you may have gathered, no one would ever describe me as the "outdoorsy" type. My family never went on camping excursions when I was young - my memories of outdoor activities are limited to the occasional picnic and our annual clam digging trip to Pismo Beach. Even so, I would be hard pressed to describe what a clam actually looks like or how they were dug up, but I can provide details about the linens in our motel and the fact that the kitchenette had a red and white tablecloth that was nailed to the table. And most of these activities were at my mother's insistence - if it were up to my dad we would have stayed home and learned about nature from reruns of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom like most normal people did.

As fate would have it, I'm married to a man who doesn't share my indifference towards nature, one who has a great respect for the outdoors and who is forced to consider his fate when he sees his wife trying to discern the difference between a tree limb and an old metal pipe. When we were dating I remember excitedly mentioning to a group of friends that he was taking me on a 'hiking date.' The laughter was deafening, but after a few minutes one of them managed to compose himself enough to ask, "And will this hike take place through Bloomingdales or are you going to really rough it over at Macy's?"

It's not from a lack of trying - the poor guy has made numerous attempts to help me find my inner sherpa, and for a short time he did. We spent fourteen days of our honeymoon camping up the coast all the way to Seattle, and except for the time I wept hysterically when I couldn't get cell phone reception along the Columbia River Gorge, I did fine. But some time after having children, camping and hiking became an enigma to me once again, and I reverted to regarding them with the same sort of disinterest reserved for other outrageous activities such as fire-walking or cleaning the oven.

Unfortunately Kira has inherited my ambivalence towards the great outdoors - an ideal trail for her would be one that is fully paved and with a souvenir stand every fifty feet. So while Rigel and Kiyomi forged ahead, blazing a trail through the overgrown brush, her and I lagged behind, Kira letting out an occasional squeal when a blade of grass grazed her calf and me squealing louder when I mistook a boulder for a mountain lion. She had her iPod with her and at one point, as Rigel was showing us a lizard, Kira ignored him and said to me with excitement, "Look! I've got a hundred songs on here!" Rigel was determined to get this band of misfits in line, though, and walked defiantly ahead, pretending not to hear when I yelled that I may have lost a limb on that last clump of jagged chaparral. I have to admit I don't set a very good example; when he suggested we continue further up the trail I volunteered to stay back with Kira and help her reorganize all her mp3s into new playlists.

We're taking a trip to Yosemite next week and Rigel made it a point to reserve a cabin that has neither a T.V. nor a telephone, which means we'll be forced to partake in this tiresome hiking fad once again, not to mention various other outdoor activities he's mentioned just to fill us with dread. But I'm going to try and be a role model for my girls and show them that not only is Mother Nature their friend, but a darn fine teacher as well. And just in case they figure out that I'm full of crap, I'll have their GameBoys and iPods packed away in that secret compartment in my suitcase, right next to my laptop.

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50 comments:

  1. I share your pain Sister. P is a scrawny Scottish Mountain Goat. She likes nothing better than skipping up the sides of mountains, while I trample after her occasionally falling into nipple-deep pits of brackish peat water and sheep's urine.

    I have never forgiven her for the himalayan trek we did.

    I can see it all on cable and eat pop-tarts at the same time.

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  2. I always think hiking might be a good idea until I actually start doing it and realize that it's much harder than it looks. (Especially when you've been drinking much too much wine lately and walking up any sort of incline gets you winded.)(I think it's diet time.)

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  3. Never been hiking but it doesn't really sound like my cup of tea. I love the outdoors but something about walking up hills and through trails doesn't really excite me. I'd much rather be listening to your kid's Ipod.

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  4. Aww...I must say I LOVE the outdoors! Hiking is one of my passions.

    But, even to an outdoors enthusiast like me, the thought of being in a cabin with no tv or telephone would not excite me. I don't blame you for smuggling some contraband.

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  5. My God - with no telephone or TV, you might actually have to...

    *I can hardly say it*

    ...TALK TO EACH OTHER!

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! :D

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  6. Maybe in my younger years I'd enjoy a good hike, but now, I'd rather a nice cool drink by the pool with half naked pool boys (er men) waiting on me hand and foot.

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  7. Yeah, Yeah! What motherhooduncensored said! *gleam in the eye*

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  8. I think I’m somewhere in between in terms of my love for the outdoors. I DO like to be outdoors in theory, but I keep my exposure to it pretty short and would DEFINITELY have my laptop and IPod with me (if I had an IPod that is….gah, still need to get one!)

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  9. WOW! The 14 day honeymoon-camp-a-thon is impressive! Especially since my lazy ass would have never made it...

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  10. Great post. Your hike must have been inspiring. So next trip just keep telling yourself, "I can blog this! I can blog this!"

    I love camping and hiking as long as I have a flushing toilet and a warm shower at the end of the day. My diehard hiking friends call this "sissy camping."

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  11. you will LOVE yosemite though! god, i was JUST looking up yosemite stuff online last night. everyone is totally vibing with me in blogland today. lol..
    yosemite is amazing, and you'll like your hikes. maybe. fine, you might not like them, but they'll be pretty!

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  12. What IS chaparral? The local HS is named Chaparral, and it pains me to think that I don't know what it is. This wild wild west outdoorsy business is so foreign to me.

    I have to admit that I am becoming more outdoorsy since moving here, although like you, I'd rather be trekking through Bloomie's.

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  13. Like any mom worth her salt *I* bribe my kids with "hiking medicine" (aka M&Ms). Rigel just needs to find what will get you to that next switchback and dangle it in front of you.

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  14. So people actually hike? I though that was just a type of boot. Hmmm. Interesting...

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  15. Would it help if you made it all about the clothes? You see, when put in an outdoors-y situation that doesn't go with my personality I turn to the wardrobe to help build excitement.

    Have fun, though. I'm sure you'll feel rejuvenated after all that fresh air!

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  16. oh man that trip is going to make for some good blog stories from you...
    and would you share the Animekat newsletter, too? I'm sure she is going to have some interesting stuff to say, too...LOL!

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  17. "Kira letting out an occasional squeal when a blade of grass grazed her calf and me squealing louder when I mistook a boulder for a mountain lion." LMAO!

    So... What does he have to compromise on for dragging you guys along on this nature trip? Shopping trip perhaps? :P

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  18. I so feel for you. My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service. I almost hope one of my kids is like me. It would be sad to be the only one.

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  19. Oh dear! I went on nature walks with the kids at my preschool and said once to the teacher leading the walk, "You know, I don't usually walk this far unless Nordstrom is at the other end." And it's true. I'm waiting til next year to schedule a field trip to the mall - and I'll lead!

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  20. I took my little guy on a quick hike today. Now I remember why I don't usually do this... I found a tick IN MY UNDERWEAR afterwards when I went to pee. (Can you say run around screaming, screaming, screaming!!!!) (I'm still shuddering) and I found a tick crawling along my little boys arm in the store an hour afterwards!

    So yeah, I know what you mean.

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  21. Wait you are voluntarily doing this?

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  22. Even though I do like the outdoors, I don't really like 'roughing it.' I need at least a cabin with a working toilet, no outdoor peeing for me!

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  23. I HATE the outdoors. hate them. I hate being outside period. UGH. My husband is a huge outdoor freak and I keep telling him he is free to go camping, hiking, fishing, whatever else they do out there, ANYTIME and take the kids with him! :) You are one good sport to go alone. YUCKY.

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  24. You see, everyone is different. I LOVE nature. I love being outside and going to the beach and playing and even going on a nice hike (providing that hike isn't up a mountain trail.)

    But there are some things I don't love... like biking and sports things. I just don't love them. When you begin to insert activities that require coorination into my joy of nature... I sort of back away quickly.

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  25. lol...I appreciate nature from a bug and sweat-free distance myself :)

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  26. I'm not an outdoorsy kinda person, but I admire your bravery...

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  27. Kira is a girl after my own heart. While I'm actually usually up for a trek in the great outdoors, my idea of camping usually involves Frette sheets, free WiFi, and itunes.

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  28. Well, I have to hand it to all of you...you are all certainly civil, yet determined. Especially Rigel! I'm glad that your packing the secret stash though - Rigel just might have a mutiny on his hands if you don't!

    I'll be looking forward to the stories from your trip.
    Stay safe...and don't let those rocks/mountain lions get you!

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  29. Thank God I married a man who is more afraid of camping than I am! I've actually tried to convince HIM to go a few times (though I was secretly glad when he said "not a chance").

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  30. Ah, Rigel's a good man. I've been on a hiking hiatus since the birth of our girl...I can't wait to get back to it :D

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  31. I'm married to nature boy. I have learned to appreciate the outdoors, but take a Goldilocks approach. I don't want to be too hot or too cold. I want everything to be just right.

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  32. My husband is Mr. Nature. I'm a nature wannabe. I try so hard, and soemtimes I think I'm making progress.
    But I'm just not very good at it.I'll keep hiking though and pointing out all the plants-- and looking up--way up the mountain that is probably a hill.

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  33. My husband and I use to do the whole hiking and camping thing when we were dating.

    When he asks why we don't going hiking or camping anymore I tell him it's because we are married now. I've already caught him. A poor excuse but it seems to work.

    I appreciate nature, when it stays outdoors.

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  34. I've always been Wildy McNaturepants, so I'm rooting for you on this one. :) But as I get older, I see myself becoming a lazy nature appreciator. I want my gardens to look like the ones in magazines, but with minimal fuss on my part. I want to go on a day hike without running into a single bug, blister, or raindrop. And I want to camp without the dirt under my fingernails, the ticks, and the re-packing of thousands of items of camp paraphernalia at the end of of the week.

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  35. I dream of someday taling a long camping trip, but I will only do it if I have a laptop computer with satellite reception. Anything less just won't do it for me antmore.

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  36. Thanks for your kind comments, sweets.

    This post had me hooting. I am married to a man who is in heaven when he is hiking, preferably uphill at a cracking pace. I join in occasionally and smile gamely, but my heart is rarely in it. He's managed to get both our kids on his page, though.

    I feel really fortunate that my adult children are people I want to be around and if they don't care to be around us, they're really good at hiding it. Don't believe for a minute, though, that it's always been easy. I once chased my 15=year old daughter down a suburban street and threw a hairdryer at her...aiming for her head. Nice, huh? I missed. My husband has put his fist through a couple of walls while trying to talk sense into a sulking teenage son. But now they're in their 30s and don't abuse drugs or booze (any more than their parents) and know how to have fun.

    I can tell from the way you relate to your girls that you will be friends forever. The parenting is way more important than the friendship for the first 20 years or so and then it gets to take a backseat.

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  37. I This is me and my husband. He loves the outdoor life. He grew up camping and I grew up staying in nice hotels!

    I can't stand the thought of peeing on a leaf.

    It's not for me! I CAN RELATE!!!!

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  38. Ewww... I hate the outdoors too. There's so much nature out there. And most of it is an insect. Blech. But when you have kids, you have to do things like hiking and poo diapers. All in the same category. Wrinkle the nose and persevere!

    Your husband's name is RIGEL!? That is so COOL!

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  39. Oh my, that is way too funny. Roughing it in Macy's. Hahaha. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I did undergo lots of camping trips as a kid and I'm not an outdoorsy person now, so don't feel bad.

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  40. I feel your pain. I'm not really an outdoorsy type either, unless you count lounging poolside with my bag of necessities by my side and a nice cold margarita. I can so envision you sneaking your laptop into the cabin bathroom...there is running water, right?! ;)

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  41. I love the outdoors. I just hate bugs. Therein lies the dilemma.

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  42. When I go outdoors, I go all out. It's nice to get away. But when I get home, I am all about my precious commodities.

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  43. Hiking - no worries. As long as you can refill your Starbucks latte and hail a taxi when your feet hurt you should have no problem.

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  44. As I always say, if you see me walking, pick me up cause my car broke down. And if you see me running, call the cops because someone is chasing me.

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  45. Ahh, the outdoors. They make GREAT postcards, don't they? I'm getting so tempterature-sensitive in my old age that I only enjoy the outdoors for about one week in July, and only between the hours of 9 and 10, morning or evening... so long as there are clouds to hide the sun... and no wind, definitely no wind.

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  46. oh i like a hike but there's no need to go so far as not having tv at the end. what's next? bark off the tree instead of a chocolate chip cookie? madness.

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  48. very funny post, i am almost right there with you! good luck at yosemite, it could be rough w/out the blogging!

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  49. Love this post. While I love camping, I agree it's getting harder the older I get. Now I'm always tempted to to forego the tent and just sleep in the car so I can get a decent night's sleep.

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  50. Not only is this great, it's just strengthened my resolve to say no to hiking. If we move to LA (which Nate is pushing for big time) we are hooking up so the men/kids can hike while we hit Fred Segals.

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