Going hiking

Going hiking in this country is always fun for a variety of reasons.  For one, there are absolutely amazingly beautiful spots, like the Sierra Nevada not too far from where I live.  The other fun part is to watch people.  Now people watching is a favorite pastime of many Americans but it is generally done in a shopping mall or a sidewalk cafe.  But, really, a National Park is much more interesting venue.

What's appropriate for a Sierrs crossing isn't for a walk in the park, pic: nps.gov

There are several categories of people to watch but I have the most fun with the extremes.  Let’s start with the gear nuts.  Going on a 2 mile hike these guys are equipped like they are about to climb Mount Everest:  the latest and most expensive of branded pants, jackets and backpacks are used, expensive water bottles, hiking sticks, shoes, performance food, goggles, sun hats, and  socks for $25 a pair are being shown off.  Its more like going to an outdoors fashion show.  Even the kids are outfitted like little professionals.  Today I saw two kids, aged 4 or 5 or thereabouts walking with little helmets, each with a camel back and a high-end coordinated outfit of pants and jacket.  How far can the little rascals go to be needing a camel back?  I am a great fan of taking enough water 9as long as my husband carries it) – but you don’t need three galons for a moderate 2 mile hike.  Trust me!

The other extreme are the people in flipflops and shorts at 8000 feet elevation, no water, no food and no idea that that big gray cloud at the horizon could bring ice cold rain in about 30 minutes from now.  I have seen grandmas in clogs climbing around on slippery, wet rocks, Indian women in strapy sandals on paths entirely covered in snow, girls in mini skirts and ballerinas trying to go up Mount Whitney (almost 14,500 feet = almost 4,500 meters).  I have rushed down mountains in drizzly weather with temperatures in the 40s while guys in shorts and beach sandals just started to climb the mountain, apparently thinking they are cool.  If I hear another story about somebody getting lost in the local county park for three days I am not surprised.

People watching is always fun!

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