Saturday, April 25, 2015

What NOT to Wear When Hiking

When we went to Santa Fe, one of the things we wanted to do was go on a hike.  We usually go to Tent Rocks, but we wanted to try someplace new, so we asked my friend Catherine for some advice.

Catherine and I at her library at Santa Fe Prep.
Now, you might notice that Catherine is very fit and athletic.  When I asked Catherine for some advice on trails, I figured she would look at me and take notice of my general shape and remember my eating habits (we did just eat lunch and I did just have a milk shake and split fries with her). But no, she looked at Fred and saw his slender hiking frame and super hiker fitness level and remembered that he had ordered the super skinny yogurt man meal or whatever something that isn't fried and isn't greasy and is good for you is called these days.

"Why don't you try the Chamisa trail? It is a nice hike and has some elevations and some great views," she said.  Did you notice how she snuck those elevations in there? I didn't.  I really didn't.

"Sounds lovely," I said.  I was thinking about my green chile cheeseburger and how good the fries were and if Fred would want to go back and get some more.  Probably not.

Fred on the Chamisa Trail.
So, the next day, we got ready for a nice hike.  I put together my outfit and Fred put on his hiking clothes.

After about 10 minutes in the car, I asked, "How far up do you think this trail is?"

We had been driving up a road to the ski trail and the road just kept going up and up and up.  We hadn't seen our trail yet.

"Keep going," Fred said.  We kept going.

At 7800 ft, we found the sign for Chamisa Trail.  Remember, we live at sea level.  We don't have mountains we were are.  Fifty feet above sea level is considered a big deal. Really. Don't laugh. I live on a mountain.  It's 50 ft above sea level.  I get winded walking up to it.

"Ah.  7800 feet. This will be interesting."

I pull over and we get out of the car.  There are several cars parked on both sides of the road indicating what a popular trail this is.

Chamisa Trail, a ravine on the left and mountain on the right.  Trees all around.
We begin to walk up the trail. And I do mean walk UP the trail.  It is all uphill.  I'm wheezing and panting and sounding like a wounded bear and we haven't even rounded the first bend.  As we turn the corner, we see this young family approaching.  The dad is carrying his two daughters, one is in his arms and the other is on his back.  As they get closer, it appears that these girls are IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

What is wrong with this trail that even young children can't handle it?!!

I look at the dad and say, "Tough hike."

"Don't I know it."  He plods forward.  His wife comes after with a baby in a baby sack in front of her.  She is smiling.  How far did you walk, I want to ask, but they are past us and it is too late.

I turn to Fred.  "We don't have water!"


"The water is in the car."

"I'll go get it," he says and jogs easily back to the car.  I spend my time trying to breathe normally and not think about what lies ahead.
Fred looking very handsome on the Chamisa Trail.
 Fred returns with nary a huff or a puff and hands me a large bottle of water, which I put into my hiking purse, which also carries my long lens, and my sweater and a few other things I might need. I'm beginning to think perhaps I haven't gotten the outfit right for this outing.  For one thing, I don't even have real tennis shoes on.  I have skechers on.  Who wears skechers to a hike?  What was I thinking?  Where were my tennis shoes?  And why does Fred always look like he belongs on a ranch? And I always look like that sidekick character who falls off the horse or down the ravine.

My hiking purse.  It's lovely isn't it? A big burlap bag
with an Indian design.  It is about 2.5 ft by 2.5 ft big.
We start hiking in earnest.  It is a lovely day and there is a nice breeze.  The trail is only about 3 feet wide, but that's ok.  I can handle that.  I'm looking for views and ask Fred if he sees any as he is out in front.

View of the narrow trail.

View of Fred way out front.
Just when we are getting going, along comes this group of really old lady hikers.  And they are hiking really fast.  Like, get out of my way fast.  And they all have matching hiking outfits.  AND they all have hiking sticks!

Sticks!  We need sticks for this trail?!

Seriously, is there a dress code for this hike? These old ladies are wearing hiker couture: REI, Columbia.  Not to mention, they are walking really FAST.  Also, they didn't pant or wheeze or gasp.  Nor did they grab onto a tree and yell out, "Hey, slow down, I'm dying here!"  I don't know anyone who did that....

Old lady hikers with sticks.
I snapped a secret photo.


He turned and looked at me.

"I want a stick!" I pointed at the old ladies who were disappearing around the bend at a fast clip.  "We need to find me a stick."

Fred shook his head and continued to walk.  I looked for a stick.

The Ravine is great.
 I just couldn't find a good stick.  So, I sat down. I needed to reevaluate this hike.  This hike, where we were going. Whether I wanted to continue.  I was not enamored with Chamisa.

It was at that moment when a running woman appeared.  She quickly approaching Fred.  I had my bottle of water out and was watching her well dressed self.  She slowed a little as she caught sight of me.  As she came near, she said,

"My, what a lovely purse you have."

My eyes narrowed.  "Thank you."  I tracked her as she ran past and around the corner.  Then I turned to Fred.

"Did you hear that?"

Fred wrinkled his brow.  "What?  She said it was lovely."

"That was hiker speak for 'what kind of moron are you?'" I started gesticulating wildly in the direction she had disappeared. "She meant, "Did you think there was a TJ Maxx out here in the mountains? Were you planning on going shopping out here?"

"I don't think so."

 I gazed back in her direction.  I whispered, "I do."

"Fred, I think it is time for us to go back," I said.  "My purse just got really heavy."
Me with my totally wrong hiking outfit.

No comments: