Saturday, December 19, 2015

Take a Hike, Pal!

So, I've got this question I've been wrestling with lately. It's not one of those burning questions that keep me up at night. Nevertheless, I keep wondering about it. I wonder at what point does a walk become a hike? Is it a distance thing? Yeah, a hundred yards and you're just out for a walk, as soon as you step out to 301 feet, well, now you're taking a hike. Maybe its the terrain. You're walking down the sidewalk or across a parking lot, as soon as you go off road with a little gravel under your feet you've changed gears and you're hiking. It's a little thing, but its been on my mind.

I've been thinking about it lately because in the last few weeks with this warm weather pattern, which is undoubtedly caused by global warming, I've been out several times for long walks. Could these have actually been hikes? I can remember back when I lived with my folks, my old man would occasionally say he was going to take a hike up to Rich's, this was a department store in Salem up the hill from where we lived in Lynn. Now, I've done this trip, many times before I had a license. It's not that far. Other times after making that announcement, my father would go out the door and get into the car. Did he mean he was going to hike from the car to the store? Rich's parking lot wouldn't be considered huge. Now, I'll agree, that once he was inside the store he may have done a lot of walking around looking for whatever items he needed, would we call that hiking.

Like I said, I've been out there stretching the legs not only because the planet is on a path to destruction but I'm trying to keep up with the Jones's. On Facebook, I have several friends who have mentioned getting into hiking, recently. Some of these friends, none of them, by the way, named Jones, are folks I grew up with and knew in high school. So, I'm attempting to keep pace with other old people.

Unfortunately, several months ago I started having a pain in my right foot. I went to a doctor, at least my assumption was that he was a doctor. I did, in fact, see some of those framed certificate things in the office. However, I never got close enough to read. Anyway, upon a brief examination, he declared I was suffering from gout. Now, I enjoy good food and I'm fond of many wines and ales. So, I supposed it wasn't out of the realm of possibilities to be inflicted with the so-called disease of king's. But, after blood work and further co-payments, the fine doctor rescinded his diagnosis and convinced me he had no idea what was causing the pain. So, my plan was to obtain new foot wear and just walk it off or, perhaps, hike it off.

I'm glad to say that my plan has not made anything worse. In fact, a new pair of New Balance Walking shoes have made some long walks if not comfortable at least quite bearable. Now, the question is, can I actually hike with these shoes and, really, have I been hiking all along. I believe the question does have to concern terrain. Even though this global warming thing will, I'm sure, eventually make winters in the White Mountains of New Hampshire seem like early fall, I don't think it's going to happen on my time table. I would like to get back into hiking through some of the trails in that area. However, I think I'll have to wait until mid-spring. Also, I don't think the New Balance shoes will quite handle the rough trails in, say, the Crawford Notch area. I may have to start checking out real hiking shoes.

In the mean time, I'll have to settle for going for walks. I can spend the winter enjoying good meals. I can sit down with a few nice glasses of port and burn plenty of wood in the wood stove. Who knows, maybe next year we can have those warm fall days in the middle of February.

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