Is there anything quite like the thrill of a newly acquired passion? Those early days filled with the rush of imagined success. For is there any success as sweet as future success. Impressive achievements already felt while yet to be had and requiring nothing more than the light strain of projection.
And so with all the future success imaginable, I did what so many embarkers have done before me; I started my new found passion for walking/hiking by reading about it. And shopping. And talking about it. What rapture to be had in a Google-induced haze of information and products.
Savoring the delights of in utero expertise waiting to be shared with the world (see WalkingEatingWriting.com).
If one counts words as steps, then I was streaking past the 10,000 steppers.And if dollars spent were a kind of step…then I was surely hoofing it with my new hiking pants, flashlights (I hadn’t foreseen darkness), drip dry shirts, walking poles (is that too much?); maps (I’m going far afield now!) and books. Why stop with the Internet when there are actual books to be read. Poetry, prose, guidebooks, route maps—so much ground to cover.
I read that for certain trips you needed lugsoles. Upon Googling the word, it came up as cork-platform-wedge shoe. That seemed easy and incorrect. I liked the sound of cork wedges but from what I had seen of a hiker’s wardrobe, I knew that was too good to be true. Whatever they are, with my walking poles. shoes and headlamp my proficiency was gaining steam.
For any Austenphiles out there, you’ll know that the character of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice isn’t the ideal role model. And yet, I couldn’t help but recall her saying:
“There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”
Substitute “music” for “walking” and there I was stuck in my own head yet again. I felt myself a great proficient at walking without so much as leaving my house. Imaginary feats of distance vs. roads more or less travelled were the name of the game. I headed in multiple directions at once. I planned a future triumph: Travelling back to The Alps to hike them properly. I had imaginary friends: Finding groups to go walk with both at home and abroad (Sierra Club anyone?). I plotted a sensible virtual hiking regime: Evaluating my hiking level from reading about hiking levels (8 miles and 1200 foot gain seemed about right).
Then I uncovered an important piece of information– that summer wasn’t even hiking season in Southern California. That was still three or four months away. Ah, fortuitous procrastination. This hiking thing is really for me.
In truth, once I had done all of the research and felt equipped, I was itching to get out of the house (figuratively, metaphorically). The Alps trip had indeed unlocked something (unclear exactly what at this leg). I knew that any pedestrian distance travelled would be more magical than couch conjuring.