I hate to hike. I mean, I love to hike, but after
the love of hiking gets me to the trail, I hate to hike.
I mean, I love to hike, but when heart is pounding,
ascending a hill, and legs are heading for hell, and
mind is fixed only on the hill’s top and its subsequent
leveling off and descent, I hate to hike. I really love
to hike when I’ve been sitting inside for a lifetime of
Monday mornings and the wind has blown away the smog and
I can see the mountains across the bay as clean as
Such conditions herald a hike, and visions of the
way it will be dance in my head like the Sirens that
tempted Ulysses. The legs begin to sense it first and
then get up, often for the most ridiculous reasons.
Then the arms move, almost uncontrollably, and the head
turns to the outside as a compass needle turns north.
Like an addict, I am hooked, not on the hike itself but
the thought of it. And like the actions of the addict,
the thought and the event are inseparable.
So I go. It is not even a conscious decision. I do
not say Should I or Shouldn’t I. The lure of the hike
is like a beautiful woman beckoning me. I do not
hesitate but rush headlong into her wanting arms. She
envelops me with kisses and hugs as we make love till
dawn, and we lie there exhausted, not even knowing each
other’s name. And as it would be with such a woman, I
consider nothing of the consequences, of the potential
pain of succumbing totally to my sensory desires.
I go: to the hills, the mountains, the beach, the
steep, Bay Area public pathways and stairways©©it
doesn’t really matter. The itch and the urge must be
satisfied. How good it feels to scratch, but how
irritated if I scratch too hard!
Ultimately though, I love to hike and if I could
hike always on an ultimate plane of existance, I would
be in eternal bliss. But this body aches so at times,
and this mind hates the aching. Yet what can I do?
These legs will not stop. These eyes will not close.
This walker’s soul will not rest, although, at
times–upon a time, for a time, in time, because of
time, despite, in nirvana, there being no time–this
body hates to hike and would be done with it if this
mind and spirit didn’t love it so.