Look, I'm not outdoorsy, okay? And because our mothers have imprinted the need for us to "go outside and play…it's a beautiful day," and because society and REI make being outdoorsy so sexy, I've always had a complex about not being an outdoor-sporty type. Plus, I live in the land of the Nalgene Set---everyone in California, and especially the Bay Area, is so fucking fit and into some sort of extreme recreating that it's enough to give this sofa diva a complex. Here I am, smack dab in the middle of these kayaking, rock-climbing, snow-camping motherfuckers, and I don't own a single piece of clothing that wicks.
And it always sounds nice when friends are like "We're going on a hike this Saturday…would you like to join us?" And I think of redwood groves, babbling brooks, sweeping vistas, and waterfalls, and think "Well, maybe…" Then I imagine the reality. Which is me bringing up the rear, sweaty, puffing, and my feet screaming at me because no one has managed to invent a pain med that actually dulls all of the pain but that also allows you to be upright, let alone hike. And I'm slow and cranky and ruin the day for everyone. So I politely decline, and I just satisfy whatever miniscule yearly nature cravings I have by smoking a joint and watching Planet Earth in surround sound. It's much less sweaty and itchy that way.
But listen, I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. And since I spent most of the last two weeks in a funk and binge-watching Nurse Jackie, I thought "Jesus, do something with yourself today."
The East Bay Regional Parks system is enormous. I've lived in the Bay Area 20 years, and finally just looked at a map of the East Bay about four years ago when we moved to Oakland and was blown away by the enormous swaths of green on the map. So I picked a hike that the internet hiker-people deemed "easy" and decided to go.
You know how people who are really outdoorsy always talk about how calm and peaceful they are when they're in nature? How it makes them contemplative and how it connects them to the planet? How it's a massive recharge from the grind of urban living? Yeah, I just don't fucking get it. I went on the hike, and I'm glad I did, but what follows below is just a sampling of my train of thought as I was "enjoying nature."
Wow, this is supposed to be an "easy" hike? I'm already breathing too much. Okay there's some dude walking down the path toward me. Make sure you've got your pepper spray in the front pocket of your hoodie. I mean, it's hiking, for fuck's sake. People get raped and murdered doing this kind of shit all the time. And when it happens, I think "Well, that wouldn't have happened to that poor girl if she'd been home on her couch watching Orange is the New Black." I mean, not that I'm victim blaming, but honestly, what's the worst that would have happened to her if she'd been lazy like me? She might have choked on a popcorn kernel.
Shit, people also get eaten by mountain lions and shit out here. Does pepper spray work on mountain lions and bears? We really shouldn't be encroaching on nature like this. Why do humans suck so much? Okay, if a mountain lion attacks me, I'm just gonna spray the shit out of that thing. I mean, I love animals but let's face it, if it ate me, they would just find the thing and kill it, so by spraying it, I'd really be doing it a favor.
Crap, where is this "Inspiration Point" everyone keeps talking about? I think the website said this hike was like two miles, but I probably should have looked at that map back at the trailhead at least. I thought this was a loop, but is it a loop? Maybe it just keeps going on forever, and I'm supposed to turn around at some point. Did I just get passed up by two women pushing giant strollers? Jesus, slow it down, Lululemon. No need to show off. Man, other than the yoga moms, it's just me and The Olds on this trail, and they look like they are much hardier than I. I need to get me some of them walking sticks.
Oh look, a bench! With an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge! And a homeless guy doing a heroin nod on it! Why does he get the best bench when he's just gonna sleep anyway? Speaking of benches, it would be nice if they had some little groves off the main trail with benches so I could pop outta sight and smoke a bowl . For better Nature enjoyment. I wonder if you're allowed to smoke cigarettes in the park? Probably not. With my luck, I'd be that asshole that burned down the entire park. Okay, but when I get back to the car, imma spark that joint and hotbox the shit out of the car. Heh heh heh…I said "hotbox."
"Just gonna shoot up some drugs and have a little nap here, don't mind me."
No seriously, I wonder if this is a loop that takes me back to the parking lot or if I should turn around. Well, at least my feet don't hurt yet. Go New Balance! I'm getting a little tired, but look at that woman in front of me. She's much heavier than I am. If she can do it, I can. Ugh, don't think that kind of shit! How rude. It's not a contest…except that I just passed her, and now I'm totally winning.
Oh look, a hawk! Right, I need to be present while I'm doing this. I'm supposed to be enjoying Nature-with-a-capital-N. I'm actually enjoying the feeling of sweating and the light breeze on my face and in my hair. I'm happy to feel my feet touching the ground, doing what feet are supposed to do for once. Except now they do kinda hurt. Fucking feet. But imma keep going. They're not too bad. Damn, that view of the Golden Gate Bridge is pretty amazing. Plus, there are these giant power grids and lines. That definitely makes me feel rugged.
Nature sure is pretty
Those old lesbians I just passed on the trail were totally just gossiping about someone not present. Why is it funnier when old people gossip? Why is it that lesbians of that generation are such a cliché in the way they look and dress? That "P.E. Coach Look" is just not flattering. But god bless 'em. If not for those sturdy women, where would I be right now?
I wonder if my phone's GPS works here. I need to find out if this is a loop because I already feel like I've walked two miles. Oh wait, here's a marker that says "1 mi." I dunno, is this a loop? Should I just turn around? How have I managed to get lost on a paved hiking trail? Oh, there's Inspiration Point…all the way up that giant fucking mountain. Are you kidding me with your "easy" rating, East Bay Regional Parks District? Fuck off. Easy if you have crampons, maybe. How do I know about crampons? What a weird thing for me to know about. Remember that dude I dated that wanted to take me snow camping? Who the fuck goes snow camping. Unless you can fashion a Barcalounger, a working TV, and a roaring fire within your snow igloo, I ain't got time for that. No surprise he and I broke up.
Look! Nature! Flying over that mountain they deemed to be an "easy" hike. Lying liarmouths.
Okay, fuck it. I'm turning around. My feet officially are at the walking-on-hot-coals level of pain. I should have thought about that before I went so far. Yeah, because one mile is so extreme. I'm nothing if not extreme when it comes to recreating. Hey, I did remember to bring a water bottle at least. I'm starving. Does this two-mile hike justify the pint of coconut chocolate chip ice cream I'm gonna shove in my facehole tonight? I'm sure it does. Plus, I should get whiskey shots or something too.
That's the problem with this damn winding trail---I always think the trailhead is just around this next curve, but it never is. They'll find me out here, on this paved trail, dehydrated, starving, and clinging to life. I'll have to be medivac'd out…or at least to the parking lot…which, I swear, is around this next curve…holy shit! There it is! The trailhead! My god, I made it! Lewis and Clark, my ass. How 'bout some serious props to me for making it out of this dangerous wilderness? God, I feel like I could eat a mountain lion, I'm so hungry. And I for sure need a drink. I wonder if there's a bar in this forest?
Well, that was relaxing AF. Let's do this again soon, no really. I think there's a bar just outside the park entrance. I might need to stop for re-fortification. At last, I'll be recreating the way god intended---with shot glasses and cigarettes. Smell ya later, Mother Nature.