Day 6: I Used to Be Good at Hiking

May 25th, 2015

Joslyn Hamilton, freelance writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah

I’m taking part in a 30-day writing experiment. See Kale & Cigarettes for details and the Facebook Group to read stories by other 500-words-ers.

I used to be really good at hiking, back when I lived at sea level and weighed thirty pounds less because pregnancy hadn’t yet destroyed my figure. Back then I lived at the base of a small, friendly mountain with hundreds of easy-to-get-to trails, and I thought nothing of summiting the peak on an average weekday evening after work. 

Now I live in the great wild Wasatch and I can’t hike for shit. I get gaspy and whiny on the slightest incline, partly because when I hike these days I am always carrying a 15-pound baby in an ergo and got four hours of sleep the night before. 

Jon, on the other hand, is a natural athlete who can pretty much handle anything. In our hikes together, I nearly always end up whining if not actually crying because he tries to push me past my comfort level. Yesterday was no exception. 

Except yesterday, I thought I finally had the advantage because he had the full-blown flu and had thrown his back out the night before, conked out on Theraflu in some sort of jacked position. It was debatable whether we should go at all, owing to his sorry state, so I insisted that we find a flat, easy, tourists-in-from-the-city type of walk—preferably something with a wooden boardwalk and interpretive signs.

“I know just the place,” Jon said. 

A windy nine-mile drive up the canyon later, I found myself dragging ass once again, lagging a good twenty yards behind him as he billy-goated straight uphill with the fatter of our two babies strapped on. I huffed and puffed along behind as well as I could for two and a half miles, at first up a paved road, then dirt, then a muddy single-track trail that wound through the pines, a wooden bridge over a rapid river, more slippery single-track, and finally, a scramble down a bank of rocks to the the base of a waterfall. There, Jon proceeded to jog across a log to the other side of the rushing torrent.

Joslyn Hamilton, freelance writer and editor, Salt Lake City, Utah

That’s where I threw in the towel. There comes a moment in every hike we do together where I refuse to go on and he marvels at what a baby I am and says something like “I hope our girls don’t out to be enormous sissies like you” and I roll my eyes and remind him that some girls wouldn’t even have come this far. 

I sincerely hope that at least one of my girls turns out to be just as much of a sissy as me, because I am going to need company lagging behind on hikes for the rest of my life. 

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