Do you ever have those days where you’d rather binge on Netflix with snacks and drinks within close proximity to your lazy, lifeless body than to actually use your two feet and heartbeat? If you don’t, you may not be human. The truth is, a long, crazy, mentally exhausting work week can suck out all the energy you have, without having exerted any physical activity whatsoever. When the weekend rolls around, sometimes all I want to do is stay in my pajamas and become one with the couch.
At times like these, I’m thankful I have a partner who will motivate me or down-right use (gentle) force to get me off my lazy butt and get out there. That’s the hardest part really, because once you get to that trail and take those first few steps and inhale that fresh earthy air, it somehow cleanses your soul and before long, you forget about that Grey’s Anatomy marathon and over-eating salty snacks you were planning.
It’s so easy to make excuses and mine this weekend was the heat. Since it was going to be hot this weekend (90F, feels like 100F with humidity), we decided it wouldn’t be the best idea to go backpacking for a couple of reasons:
Safety – there’s a lot of heat/sun related ailments you can battle if you overexert yourself or don’t drink enough water.
Comfort – on hot days like these, I must have A/C. I’m sure there were some brave souls out there backpacking, but we were not one of them. Instead, we decided on a day-hike.
Some of our favorite places to day-hike are the Metro Parks around our area. They have great maps and are really well blazed so even if you are new to hiking it’s hard to get lost – just follow a color and you’ll eventually end up where you started. When we first started hiking, we tried the “Orange Trail -7.5 mile loop” at the Germantown Metro Park and it nearly killed us. We decided to try it again but this time we went counter-clockwise to switch it up (and maybe make it easier).
Now, as I said before, these parks are great, BUT there is a drawback – they only open at 8am which is a pretty late start when temperatures will be in the 80s by 9am. But as backpacking was out, it wouldn’t feel right not to do any hiking this weekend, so off we went.
The hike was good and I was happy we did it, but even happier to get home to the air-conditioning. I believe we were overzealous in choosing this long of a hike for such a hot and humid day as we both experienced some heat exhaustion and dehydration despite drinking nearly 2L of water each. But, the sights, sounds and smells made it a pleasant hike.
Conclusion: To Hike or not to Hike?
My answer is hike! Take into consideration conditions and plan accordingly. If thunderstorms are in the forecast, maybe you should postpone your hike, but a little rain never hurts. Yes, the trails will be muddy and your shoes might be wet, but if thru-hikers can do it, you can too – even just to say you did. If it’s going to be a sweltering hot day, go for an early hike or just do a mile or two. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. It’s so easy to make excuses but I can almost assure you you’ll be happy you did it – even if it was only to get that large chocolate milkshake afterwards!