“Age fast, age slow-it’s up to you”
For several years now, I have gotten used to people, both men and women, who will open doors for me and refer to me as “sir”. Although I am 51 years old, I still feel pretty young, even though sometimes it is harder to get up in the morning. The way I look at it is, if I wake up and can get out into the woods for a hike, it has been a good day. Today, however, I actually felt old-if only just for a minute.
The hike that I did today was a loop that looks like an oddly shaped and really demented lollipop. At a length of a little bit over 6 miles, it goes up one trail, loops to another and then another before coming back on the original trail.
I passed the Dutch Doctor Shelter on the way up the trail at about 8:30 am, and then again a couple of hours later on my return trip. When I passed it the first time, I heard voices coming from the shelter so I didn’t stop to investigate and kept on going. On my return trip, I had planned to stop and take pictures of the interior, but somehow I missed it!
As I moved down the trail, I heard voices once again and came upon a group of about 10 teenagers. I could tell by the discussion that the group leaders were having with several of the “campers/hikers” that they were not happy. I stopped and asked one of the group leaders the usual questions-“Where were they from? How long were they hiking?” and she told me that they had hiked to the shelter yesterday and were hiking back this morning to return home.
I could sense the frustration of the young leader as she tried to get the group moving again. Some of the kids she said had complained the entire way to the shelter and were still complaining even though they were only about 3/4 of mile into the return 1.85 miles this morning. Listening to some of these kids you would think that they had been out in the woods for days and had hiked many, many miles. Obviously this was not the case.
Here is the reason I am telling you this story. The leader asked me how long I had been hiking for (since it was early in the day) and was interested in knowing how long my hike was. I told her that I had been out for almost three hours and was about to complete 6.35 miles. After a few minutes, I took my leave and only got about 20 yards away when I heard one of the leaders say with a certain level of sarcasm (I think)-“Holy shit! That old guy is about to finish almost seven miles and you can’t hike for a mile or two? Stop bitching and start walking.”
Wow…It’s bad enough to have everyone call you sir, but when did I become the “old guy”?