Hiking is Not a Real Big Fan of Me

“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre, To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.” – John Muir

Oh hiking…..   we have a pretty volatile relationship don’t we?

Not too long ago, I set off on day where I thought I would get two great hikes in, in two different parts of the County I was visiting. I had gotten some recommendations ahead of time, and then received another recommendation from the bartender at a funky restaurant I had dinner at the night before. I reckoned she must know what she was talking about, so I took her up on her lead.

Let me start by saying I am a very nervous solo hiker; I get out there in the woods, and my mind starts to imagine the crazy hermit person who is going to abduct me  and lock me up in their cabin and keep me their victim for months on end. And if the kidnapper doesn’t get me, certainly the cougars will. I mean really  – we now have mountain lions in Wisconsin, where we don’t even have mountains. I really wish those mountain lions would head back West where they belong. Continue reading