Behold, I Have Returned from a Hike

Friends, family, followers—gather whatever posts you possess of your pets or fancy latte art, and lay them at the altar of my nascent wilderness infatuation. I demand a sacrifice! There is a new force dominating your social media, clad in breathable synthetics, as our ancestors foretold.

If perchance you were wondering which of your acquaintances exchanged intimate whispers with Nature this weekend, while also besting it in an assertive display of athleticism, it was I. If you were wondering who among you felt the wind tussling their two-hundred-dollar zip-off pants, it was I. Fear not. I have returned intact—with several dozen selfies and the unwarranted belief that if you didn’t walk around in the woods yesterday your life is worthless.

For I, your former associate and now idol, went for a hike. Gaze upon my photos and weep.

Go ahead, scroll through this selection of pictures and question the depth of your inner life. It seems quite shallow, does it not? I even included one photo that doesn’t feature my face or a glimpse of my heat rash. Instead, it’s of a trail that I assure you appeared way steeper in real life, or maybe of a leaf that I thought looked really neat. I added it to convey the majesty of nature, because this experience wasn’t just about me—although I look great in a full-brim hat—it was about all of us.

That’s right. I just referenced the collective human experience. I waded deep into the primordial waters, and now I’m like Henry David Thoreau or Edward Abbey. Suddenly, I have strong opinions about how you should lead your life and I want to text them to you in all caps. That nine-to-five is a hamster wheel, man. Get out and break free! Release that fluffy, domesticated hamster somewhere it can truly thrive: the wilderness.

I’ve moved beyond the world you live in. I cut the tether. It was just me, the great outdoors, and the phone I relied on heavily for navigation, documentation, and a podcast to take my mind off how much sweat was pooling around my lower back. Nothing can compare to the type of awareness you feel when you take out your headphones and realize that someone has been trying to pass you for a mile.

Behold, my picture of the summit! While I’ve mastered several poses—such as Stoically Standing with Hands on Hips, which exhibits the resilience of the human spirit, and Looking Just Left of Camera with Open Smile, which suggests that sitting in a plague of mosquitoes is just one of those things which make me giggle—they weren’t quite right for this occasion. I have instead selected Stepping into a Sunbeam, because there was a break in the clouds and this natural landscape is just a playground of fucking wonder. You’re welcome. Also, yes, it rained, but I assure you that it was more enriching to the soul than the stupid drizzle you got in town.

Join me, friends. It’s not too late for you. You can still be like me. I could loan you this book on how to find food in a snowstorm and take shelter in a rainstorm. There are only storms where we’re going. We could carpool. I’ll bring the bug spray. We’ll leave early, of course. Shall I pick you up at, say, five?


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