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Pace Yourselves

May 27, 2018


Many moons ago, when I was youngish and dumb, I got invited to go hiking with a group of eight people, seven of whom I did not know well.

We were driving about 90 minutes north to a wilderness area, where we were to park by a river, take a leisurely stroll up the banks, and then come to the major attraction, some slot canyons filled with water, where we could swim and clamber up small waterfalls and enjoy the warm afternoon.

At least that’s what they told me. In reality, the park had been closed off many miles from the river, so we had to hike in and up and up and then down and down into the river valley, THEN do the slot canyon swim/hike.

We parked our cars and took off, kind of fast. Faster than I was comfortable hiking, but damned if I was going to be the laggard. I moved my chunky short legs so fast that I was almost running. And they upped their pace. It happened over and over. We were flying along, up these dirt roads, faster and faster.

After our swim in the canyons, I was determined not to be the one who pooped out early, so I took off while they were still changing their clothes. I zoomed alone along the path, keeping a sharp ear for approaching footfalls.

Someone eventually caught me and we made good hiking partners. We got back to the cars just a little before the others.

Hot, sweaty, tired and starving, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant. Over our second beer, someone finally said “Why did we have to walk so fast?”

Someone else said “Why did YOU have to walk so fast? I was just trying to keep up with YOU. I didn’t want to walk that fast.”

It turns out no one had wanted to walk that fast, but we were all too intimidated to say “Hey, can we slow down?” No one wanted to be the weakest link.

You can draw your own life lesson from this one.


Photo copyright: Sue Davis

  1. May 27, 2018 15:38

    Not only were you all too timid, but whoever was organising it wasn’t concerned enough. That’s my take on it. 🙂 And I love that photo. Oh and – well done, for surviving the too-fastness of the hike.

    • May 27, 2018 16:58

      There wasn’t really an organization…just a loose group of people, most of whom were friends-of-friends…if we had known each other better, maybe someone would have said something.

      It’s funny, though – that was pretty much the first hike I had ever taken, and it led to thousands of hikes with the Sierra Club and my dog, so it was all worthwhile.

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