The People You Meet Along The Way

I spent much of the morning doing personal admin, and with plans for an afternoon hike, I wasn’t quite sure what I would find to write about today.

Enter divine intervention.

I was recently introduced to a couple of good hiking options within walking distance of my house. (Walking to workout > Driving to workout.) One leads into the park and offers several different trails depending on how far I want to go and how tired I want to be when I get there. It’s much more traditional in hiking terms and offers great views. The other is a series of staircases through a neighborhood. I love looking at houses and the stairs are a good workout, so that one is a win-win as well.

I’m admittedly way too cavalier about doing things on my own and putting myself into situations that probably aren’t the safest. During one hike a couple of weeks ago, I actually made a mental note about how desolate a particular hike (neither of the ones I just mentioned) was. Since my mind is awesome at catastrophizing, I let it run wild with all the things that could happen to me out there with nobody knowing. As I saw it, there were two most likely outcomes: mountain lion or serial killer. But I was enjoying the scenery, and who gets murdered while listening to Adele? And sure I didn’t tell anyone I was going hiking, much less where I was, but what am I going to do, always tell someone every time I leave the house? I imagined the police interviewing the four people I saw that day. And what they would say about the girl in the pink “Let them eat cake” tee. They probably didn’t even realize that’s what it said.

Then this happened. Boo. Boo to it sucking to be a woman who is trying to stay in shape and doesn’t always have a buddy to work out with. I’ve never been to that park, but I had definitely wanted to try it after seeing it as a backdrop in a couple of movies.

So today when I was making my decision about which hike I would go on, I chose the neighborhood stairs. The other hike is less traveled, and I figured I was safer with all the houses nearby.

In the handful of times I’ve taken the stairs, I’ve seen one, maybe two people doing the same thing. Today I started up the stairs behind two ladies. I caught up with them as it was one of the lady’s first times, and the first set’s always the toughest. We struck up a conversation, and then Paola asked if I had ever hiked to the observatory. I have plenty of times, but always from the main park road. Well Paola connected the dots of all the various trails and before I knew it, we were at the observatory.

I was so thankful for these new-found hiking buddies. We had great conversations. About current events, neighborhood history, love lives, families…Paola lost 50 pounds this year, so she hikes wearing a 20-pound weight vest. To remind her. (!) Rosa was born in central Mexico and ran away at 17 to come live in America. I’m a slender midwestern girl raised in the suburbs who has no right to complain about anything. Ever. We exchanged numbers and plan to meet up intentionally next time.

Hey, remember when I said I wanted to start hanging out with some Spanish speakers?

Divine intervention.

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2 Responses to The People You Meet Along The Way

  1. shelly williams says:

    amen. i have the same issues with hiking, biking and camping…there’s never anyone who wants to come with me, so what’s a girl to do? i wish we lived in the same time zone.

  2. Suzan Bargen says:

    You, catastrophizing?!! Aren’t you the one who makes negative comments when I send you one of those warning emails? You know the ones I mean, warning you about men posing as cops and stopping women on the road, reminding you to check the battery in your smoke detector, those emals? I’m glad you decided not to go hiking alone in desserted parks. I know I watch too much dateline but I don’t want to ending up on one someday like that. I want to see you on Dateline because you are a successful writer with a new TV show (or something equally fun and exciting) OK? Love your writing, Love you!

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