Kids, it is a gorgeous day here in southwest Virginia. The sun is shining. The temperature isn’t crazy high. And, for a welcome change, the humidity is low.
I decided that today would be a good day to combat my natural instinct to hide in my room and binge watch Netflix. I figured it would be a good idea to go outside and do something active. I mean, it’s not crazily out of character for me to want to do things outside, but usually I save outdoor activities for the fall or winter when temperatures are more bearable for my hot-natured skin.Honestly, if I’d stayed home, I’d have forced myself to continue unpacking all the boxes that are currently piled against a wall in my bedroom. I’ve been putting that off for the entire two weeks since I moved. Well, I’ve made some progress. But that really just means I’ve taken things out of boxes and now have piles of books and junk on the floor in the middle of my bedroom. Yeah… progress.
I felt like today would be a good day to go on a hike. I haven’t been on any kind of hike since last summer. And please, get the picture of me hiking out of your head. I’m not a very good hiker. I’m not even a very good walker. But I do enjoy getting out there and taking a look at nature from time to time. And it’s nice when I’m able to go by myself, so I don’t have to feel embarrassed when everyone in my group is powering ahead while I’m wheezing 20 yards back. Alone, I can take my time, take occasional breaks, and even pull out the old camera phone to snap a picture or two.There’s a place not too far from town called The Cascades. It’s actually pretty close to where I went to college, too. Back in the day, going hiking there was a semi-regular event. It’s not a difficult hike, which means that it’s my go to on days like today. There are lots of places to hike in the surrounding area, what with the Appalachian Trail cutting through close by. But most of those hikes require a physical strain that I’m usually not prepared to commit to. Four miles uphill to reach an overlook that I will probably die from? No thanks.So I made the drive to The Cascades. When I got there, I found myself at the back of a line of 15 cars that were just waiting to get into the parking lot. In fact, from where I was sitting, I couldn’t even see the parking lot. Apparently, everyone else in southwest Virginia had the same idea I did. That’s when I did what any reasonable person would have done in my shoes. I said, “screw this,” and turned my car around. It’s a bit of a narrow road, so it took about a 7-point turn to get all the way around, but I drove away, leaving 14 cars in my rear view mirror.
Look, it’s not that I’m lazy and didn’t really want to hike up to see a beautiful waterfall on a gorgeous summer day. It’s just that, if I wanted to be around that many people, I’d have gone to the mall. I don’t need 200 strangers on a hiking trail judging me because I’m possibly stopping for a breather every 100 yards or so. If I want strangers to judge me, I want it to be for polishing off an entire pizza by myself at the Pizza Hut.
Incidentally, on the way to The Cascades, I saw a handwritten yard sale sign in front of a house that I can only assume inspired the set designers for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I didn’t see any items for sale in the actual yard, but beneath “yard sale” was the word “inside”. I wonder how many people they lured in with that one. I thought about stopping in on my way back home, just so I could say it wasn’t a wasted trip. But then I thought, no, I don’t really feel like getting murdered today.