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Climb Every Mountain

I couldn't think of a picture to use, here's Alfie

I have done a lot of things in my time in order to win the affections of the female population. Desperate attempts to prove to them that I am worthy of having “boyfriend status,” despite the fact that as I grow older I'm coming to find that I'm the real life hybrid of Charlie Brown and Liz Lemon. Always having the football taken away from me at the last second, or having the constant desire to “want to go to there.”

One of these moments in my life came last spring, as I went hiking for the first time. She was an outdoorsy lass, and I am, well, not. With my flat feet, my perpetual allergies, and my fondness for indoor plumbing, I find that nature hikes are not my thing. I like nature, and I like being in it from time to time. I would rather spend my time having a picnic in a park, than playing junior explorer.

Yet when she texted me and asked me if I would like to go hiking with her, I said yes. She told me it would be a day hike, that we'd be going a slow pace, and it'd be about five miles. “Pack accordingly” she said, and having never hiked before, I went out to my local outdoors store. A friendly sales clerk came over and asked if I needed anything, and after telling them what I was looking for, combined with my paranoia about being in the woods for hours upon end, I left with a tidy haul.

Eight refillable water bottles, a case of freeze dried food, a walking stick, a solar powered charger for my iPhone (because I am that person), and the cream of the crop, a backpack. Not just any backpack, but the Yukon Mountaineer 9000. It was my typical overcompensation for trying to not seem like a clueless fool in the woods.

I met her at the hiking path and knew that I had overdone things when, before taking my Yukon Mountaineer 9000 out of the back of my car, I saw her hiking kit. It was a small Jansport backpack, like I used to use in high school, one water bottle, and she had brought sandwiches for later. Thankfully, she laughed warmly when she learned my massive backpack was full of water bottles and Astronaut Ice Cream.

We began our hike up the trail, and things were going fine. I, above all, was surprised to find that I was actually enjoying myself. The air was nice, the sun was out, and I made a personal soundtrack of 1960s French Pop music, because, again, I am that person. The first hour of the hike went fine, but as we came closer and closer to the second hour, things began to take a turn for me.

We stopped to eat our lunch in a little clearing, right at the moment my thighs had begun drawing up papers to have themselves divorced from me. This pleased them, though they didn't talk to me for a week afterwards. We sat on a rock together, and marveled at the view. It was a beautiful sight, and the combination of the breeze and the clear day really made it all perfect. Perfect until I noticed my nose began to feel odd.

“What type of trees are these?” I asked of the ones surrounding the clearing. “Oh, they're fir trees” she replied. I'm allergic to fir trees, but I decided to try to hide it, and tell my body to go into “we're not gonna sneeze and cough” mode. As she went over to admire the view, I told her I would put away the rest of the sandwiches. In reality this was an excuse to hide behind a rock and empty my sinuses into a napkin.

Pulled together temporarily, we moved upward and onward. My allergies stayed at bay for a short while, and now instead of it being mostly of a nasal capacity, I was now having the good ole watery eye. It looked like I was crying, and when she turned to me to point out a bird in a tree, she asked “What's wrong?”

“Oh, nothing” I said, “I'm just thinking about the ending of Back to The Future: Part 3, when the Delorean gets destroyed.” She nodded softly with a look that said “Ooookay” and on we went. I wiped my eyes dry on the sleeves of my shirt, and caught up with her. By the time we reached the end of the trail, and back to our cars, we had been hiking for a grand total of three hours. My legs felt like Jell-O, and I was doing my best to not let this be known to her.

We parted, and it was a little awkward, she got into her car while I acted like a bold outdoorsman and took off my gear. As soon as she was out of sight, I slowly put it all in the trunk, and sat down in the drivers seat. I let out the loudest, longest, sigh of my life and collapsed into a shell of myself. The only appropriate thing would to have played “In The Arms of an Angel” over all of this.

Needless to say the relationship never took off, “you're not outdoorsy enough for me” she said. This was, and is, true, and I was fine with it as I took her phone call from bed. But at least I can say I went hiking once in my life, and it was enough for me.


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