Take a Hike, eh!

Nick Wolochatiuk - Dances With Words
Take a Hike, eh!
EVENTUALLY – In pre-historic days it was a barefoot foray of necessity into the unknown. Today, travel on foot is for pleasure, feet protected by sturdy hiking boots. The modern hiker is obsessed with bagging yet another of the Adirondack 46 High Peaks. (Photo : Nick Wolochatiuk)

A very long time ago, somebody said, “Hey! Let’s travel, let’s go on a trip, the whole family, together.”

The others who were huddled around the smouldering embers that had slow-cooked some sort of hapless creature took his suggestion with disdain. “Travel? Every XX!?#!! day we travel. Martha goes for firewood, Kathy and Margo pick berries and the boys search for frogs and snakes. You travel to hunt.”

“No! No! That’s not the travel I mean. I mean, let’s hit the road, go on a family road trip together.”

And that’s how a family tradition that has endured to this day originated. They didn’t ‘hit the road’, for in the beginning there were no roads, no motels, not even any hotels. The phrase ‘take a hike’ would have closer to what they did. They went on foot. Today we call it ‘hiking’.

To take a hike they couldn’t go barefoot. They had to go on-line to select the very best hiking boots. Of course, they just wore them in the cave to break them in, Otherwise, there’d be blisters, bunions and calluses. Something better than goatskins had to be found to carry drinking water. The clear plastic Nalgene water bottles would be just great. In every day some rain must fall, so that meant the tanned hide jackets and cargo pants would have to be replaced by GORE-TEX. Hiking doesn’t include taking the kitchen sink. During packing up time, these words were often heard, “No, you can’t bring that! Too heavy! Not enough room. We don’t need it.”

Eventually they learned that the big dinosaur skin backyard tent couldn’t be backpacked. They’d also have to travel without pears, bananas and eggs.

Every hiker knows the motto that is an adaptation of the 1975 A.D. American Express slogan, “Don’t leave home without it.” Even our very first foot-travellers knew that they shouldn’t leave home without it, ‘it’ being a compass. Unfortunately, even today, hikers have no clue why knowing which way is north can be of any value.



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