‘Take a hike’ and ‘get lost’



I was under the impression that when I quit working in the food industry, it would do wonders for my waistline. What I failed to realize is that while I was eating this fatty, rich restaurant food each day, I was also constantly on my feet, walking with a rapid pace and actually using those calories for energy.

My work here at Appen is still physical, but maybe a little less calorie burning when you consider the most rigorous thing I do is mark an “X” next to a player’s name when he misses a free throw.

And seeing as my diet mostly consists of butter, sugar and beer, my gut has not retreated at all since I began working here full time a year ago.

I decided I need an active hobby and after considerations, I settled on hiking.

After all, hiking is a way to get outdoors and burn off some of my 12-ounce curls. And as my heavy cream complexion and heavy cream gut shows, I desperately need both.

My decision was also based on the fact that my father-in-law makes his living off hiking, authoring two books on the subject. His first “Recipes for Adventure,” is a cookbook for homemade dehydrated foods that can be easily consumed on the trail. His most recent, “1,001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail,” is filled with journal entries taken as he traversed a large portion of the trail.

So with the notion that hiking could provide the exercise I need, and perhaps if I enjoyed it enough, some father-in-law bonding time in the future, I set out for my first hike.

And then I got very, very lost.

Some people are naturally born with a good sense of direction, but apparently that portion of my brain puts much more emphasis on who scored the game-winning goal between the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils on March 23, 2006. It was Peter Bondra if you were wondering.

My sense of direction is so unfortunate, I have to plug in every address in my GPS, even if I have visited the location many times before.

But at least in a car on the road you’re never far from civilization and not truly lost in the sense of the word. And alone, deep in the woods on my first hike, I found out what it is to truly be lost. At that point I figured if I were to write my version of “1,001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail,” it would turn out to be an extremely disorganized circle.

But getting lost did have its benefits.

I had only planned to hike for a few miles, but after losing my way those few miles turned into a few more. And then a few more when I decided to turn around and try to retrace my steps.

By the time I finally found the trailhead, my legs were burning and I had gotten so close to nature I was wearing quite a bit of it. So, mission accomplished I suppose.

But if you don’t see any articles from me in the coming weeks as I begin to hike more frequently, be on the lookout for smoke signals.

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