Urban Hiker

Usually, I write race reports. I have been in races lately and finished them. But running races is not the most exciting thing in my life today. The most exciting thing is walking. Or urban hiking. Urban hiking is for non-elite city dwellers, who don’t live near fantastic mountainous trails, and who never plan to hike from Mexico to Canada or Georgia to Maine. Yes, I could hike even though I don’t live near anything amazing.

Last week, I walked 20 miles by myself. I was so impressed that I did it. It was not painful and the time went by easily. I began to envision really long distance hikes around the city where I live.

And so I bought a backpack. A typical hydration pack that I use for running doesn’t have a big enough back pocket for a jacket. In the winter, it could be that layers of clothing need to be taken off or put on as the day progresses. And I want to be able to hike for hours without going home. I wanted a pack that could carry a large hydration bladder. And hip pockets for my phone and gloves. A pack to untether me:

I do still run. Races are signed up for. But I also like the low stress of walking. Without purpose. Not training. Walking in winter, I don’t sweat like I do running, so the layers stay dry for hours. Whereas, when running, I sweat, and pretty quick, my layers get wet.

Today I walked along a busy road. The sidewalk was mostly there, missing in a couple of spots. Continuous cars. Quicktrip and Starbucks. It takes 3 miles of road walking to get between trail A and trail B. Next time, I’ll park closer to trail B, because, on trail B, you can walk for many miles on bike paths away from cars.

Do you ever drive in your car along a busy street and see a person walking with a pack? Do you wonder if they are too poor to have a car, or homeless, or something? I mean, why would anyone walk along that street if they didn’t have to? The crazy old lady who likes to walk, that’s who. It could be the secret millionaire from next door who puts on scruffy clothes and a pack and goes for a long walk.

Try it sometime.

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