Tales from the Trail: Don’t Listen to Hikers

King’s Peak, Part 2:

It was go-time.  I hiked with my dad earlier in the day, but he became dizzy as we were hiking, and he decided to turn back.  I went back with him down to the parking lot to make sure he was alright.  We secured him a camping spot, and I went back to the trail.

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I was so pumped!  The ground under my feet was disappearing, the scenery around me was a blur.  I’d stop to greet other hikers along the way, exchanging our excitement, but other than that I wasn’t taking any breaks.  It was only a seven mile hike, I’ve got this.

Before I knew it I had hiked up to the elevation I’d be staying at until I made my ascent.  I was leaving the tree-line behind, and the trail opened up into an absolutely beautiful basin.  From there I talked to some forest rangers about poop and the best places to camp, they pointed me in the right direction and I made my way.  As I walked I passed a boulder with a backpacker just hanging out on top eating a granola bar in the cool evening light.  “This is what it’s all about” I thought.

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I was nearing my camp site as I crossed two other hikers coming out, heading back to the parking lot.

“You just coming up?” They asked.

“Yeah, I left from the main parking lot”

“How long have  you been hiking?”

“I don’t even know what time it is dude” And it was true, I hadn’t really been paying attention.  I vaguely remembered leaving somewhere around 2:00 PM.  “What time is it right now?”

“3:30” They responded.

I told them I seemed to remember leaving around two, at which point their jaws dropped.  I mean, I’m a fast hiker.  I don’t stop for breaks very often, and I tend to charge uphill to get it over with.  So it could have been reasonable.

“I don’t like to stop for breaks, I just pushed through” I said to console their shocked expression.

“If we find out you’re lying to us, we’re coming back to kick your ass” They said as they left.

I laughed and continued on.  Then I remembered I had actually left closer to 1:00, maybe 1:30.. The truth is I still don’t know, but I don’t think I left at 2:00.  I don’t pay attention, I just look at the sun and roughly guess how much daylight I have left.  That’s all.  I stopped and debated running back to tell them I was probably wrong about how long I’ve been hiking, but eventually I decided against it.

I felt bad, but eventually was able to accurately help someone.  Another solo hiker was looking for a good place to camp, and I was able to point him in the right direction.  It balances out in the end, right?

At the very least, my ass remained unkicked that night.

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