Hiking with The Furry Guy

The Furry Guy is getting ready for an adventure. He is joining some men from our church on a 3-day, 33-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. In preparation for the trip, he asked a neighbor for permission to hike on his property. Now, we live in a fairly flat county, but our property is somewhat hilly. Our neighbor’s is very hilly. His property encompasses pastureland, woods, and a creek. The Furry Guy created a route that would give him the most challenging hike. It measures out to about 3.2 miles.

After The Furry Guy had his route set he invited the other men to hike it with him. They did just that a couple of weeks ago—twice in one day. The Furry Guy hikes it every other day or so, as long as it’s not pouring down rain.

As we were driving home from church on Sunday he said he’d like me to hike the route with him just so he could show it to me. I told him I’d like that. So, with a beautifully cool and sunny day on tap, Tuesday was the day.

The Furry Guy added 10 more pounds to his pack, bringing the total weight to 53 pounds. This is much more than he’ll take on the hike, but it makes sense to train with more than he’ll actually take. That way the pack will seem relatively light on the trip.

I, of course, hiked without a pack. Part of The Furry Guy’s added weight was my snack and water. I also didn’t walk his exact route. In training for a mountain hike, he made sure that the route took him up and down every hill, taking the steepest path possible. I stuck to gentler slopes or walked the ridge whenever possible.

For those of you who have never seen me, I want you to understand that I’m short. Really short. I’m over 5′ tall, but only by about 1.5″. My husband is about 5′ 9″. He walks quickly with long strides. I usually walk fast, but with much shorter strides. I don’t hike fast. Hurrying brings out the klutz in me. When we were dating we’d go walking in the woods and I’d stick right with him. Of course, that was 27 years ago, and I was trying really hard to impress him. He’s stuck with me now, so he has to put up with my slower pace.

We had a wonderful time. We talked about how beautiful our little chunk of Indiana is. We talked with our neighbor’s dogs and admired his horse, which was really curious about these people walking through his territory. We saw seven vultures sunning themselves. Three were sitting on fence posts, the other nestled in the surrounding grass. We glimpsed a deer as it fled from our noise. The Furry Guy even stirred up a garter snake.

By the time we got back home we were both dirty and sweaty. I had twisted my ankle toward the end of the hike. I told you about my inner klutz. There was a small bump that was camouflaged by the tall, even spring grass. My foot came right down on the edge. That twist burst open a blister that had been forming on my heel. (Note to self—two pairs of socks, powder, and maybe a bandage on my heels for the next hike.) The pain wasn’t too bad, and we were almost home. I didn’t tell The Furry Guy about it until we were headed up our driveway. He doctored it up for me.

I’m so glad I went. I usually prefer a nice stroll in the woods to an actual hike, but the time with The Furry Guy was worth it. I’ll not be sharing the adventure with him, so I enjoyed this little glimpse of him in action. I know that he also enjoyed showing me what he could do.

I don’t know what your spouse (or BFF, or sibling, or whatever) really loves that just isn’t your cup of tea. Whatever it is, if there’s a way for you to join in, even if it’s simply in a token way, I encourage you to do it. It is a great way to make memories and increase the respect you have for someone you love.

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