- Sometimes a trail is really hard and you’re in the middle of it and want to die. Or feel like you’re going to die. Because you’re breathing so heavily on an ascent and then you try to take a drink of water and realize you can’t breathe and drink water at the same time, so you have to make up for that after a sip and you end up sounding like you’re being strangled, but really you’re just trying to not die.
- Sometimes you hear a trail is nice and then you go hike it and it’s flat and boring, and you realize you just wasted 6 miles of your life to walk a flat, boring trail with no views.
- Sometimes you get blisters or your feet really, really hurt after you’ve walked a lot of miles and you want to throw your hiking shoes over a cliff, like Reese Witherspoon in Wild, but then you realize you need those shoes to finish the 5 miles you have left.
- People are smelly. YOU are smelly. After you hike and sweat and sleep in a tent for a few nights and go to the bathroom in the woods for days on end, you smell like a garbage dumpster and look like one too. I take wet wipes and hand sanitizer and a big headband for my gross, frizzy hair, but there’s only so much one can do when a shower isn’t available. This is the reality of the human condition. We are disgusting.
- Wildlife can scare you sometimes, whether it be a bear, snake, moose, deer, chipmunk, spider, or leaf you thought was a giant bug. We’ve seen lots of wildlife on our hikes this year. Some of it scared the crap out of us and some of it was totally awesome (or both). Be wise, carry bear spray in appropriate situations, realize you’re on their turf now, and deal with that in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
- Injuries can happen, which sucks. The best thing to do is have a first aid kit and to assess the situation with wisdom and smarts. Every root, stump, rock, and slippery leaf poses the risk of a fall, so step carefully. Remember that states like New Hampshire, Colorado, and Utah now have hiker cards you can purchase in case you need to be rescued. These cards will keep you from incurring most of the financially crippling costs that are associated with search and rescue operations.
In my opinion, the benefits of being in nature outweigh these things. There is just too much beauty out there to be chased after, so yeah, it’s rosy in some ways, and totally nasty in other ways…a lot like life.