. It’s raining, just like I had hoped it would. The forecast says it will clear up by noon.
. Saturday breakfasts: mushroom coffee, sunny side up eggs, and a sauté of leftovers. Today it’s spicy sausage, spinach, and corn. I eat at the kitchen counter.
. So many options to choose from, and it’s stressing me out. Chores - bicycle shopping - hibernating with books - hiking. I just need to pick something and do it. Weekends are too fleeting.
. I write my name on the check-in sheet. Time in: 10:07am. I look back towards the parking area to make sure no one is following me. There is pepper spray in my pocket. I head into the woods.
. The ascent begins immediately. Straight up to the top. Every step knocks the wind out of me. My legs feel like dead weight. I only stop once to catch my breath and listen.
. I’m awarded a strong breeze and cloudy views.
. There is a group of 3. Two women and a man. And an old jack Russell. I take a seat off to the side and the dog runs over.
. “Her name is Cassie. She’s friendly.”
. Cassie is more than happy to hang out with me and I’m more than happy to scratch her ears. I used to love hiking with Daisy and Floyd.
. I’m not trying to eavesdrop but I hear one of the women ask what the other two are thankful for. I notice the solemnity of their postures.
. “I’m thankful for mom...”, the wind carries the rest of the sentence away from me. “I’m thankful for trees.” “I’m thankful for Gorgonzola in our salads.” They laugh.
. I think about giving them privacy but they get up before me and head back down. I secretly try to will Cassie to stay.
. I continue down a less populated trail. It’s clear no one has been down here for awhile from all the spider webs across the path.
. Every few feet I feel the sticky strands attach to my hands and arms. Twice I get a web across my face and freak out. I think about turning back but grab a long stick instead and start slicing at the space ahead of me as I walk.
. It works for about 2 minutes and then another web wraps itself around my face. Fuck. This. I say outloud and turn around.
. Despite only completing 2 of the 4 miles, I’m sweaty and exhausted.
. Time out: 11:40.
. Fish and chips and gelato and a sunset that burned out too quickly.
. Would you rather...?