by Andrea Elizabeth
Online people don’t know what you look like. I have had the experience of feeling kindred to someone, and then I see their picture and they are young, skinny mountain-bikers or hikers. They have well fitting khaki shorts, dark hair, and nice tans. I get the feeling they are surprised when they see me. I’ve met them in real life too. Many times. They pass me on mountain trails with their backpacks. Usually they are going down as I laboriously go up because they got up much earlier in the morning. Or at least they had the advantage of camping on site, so they didn’t have to travel hundreds of miles that day to get there like I did. The problem is that I don’t sleep well on hard surfaces like they do. The thought of carrying all my supplies on my back and sleeping on the ground is very daunting. It could be my stage of life with its wear and tear, but the two times I tried it when I was younger and smaller weren’t nice. But they were on concrete park cabin floors. I think the tent, air-mattress time was better. I’m pretty afraid of bugs, too. So if there is a hotel option nearby, I will go for it. You don’t have to plan so carefully.
I think I also have an objection to air mattresses and gear you have to get at a sporting goods store. There’s something contradictory about having to go to a specialty store to go natural. Hotels take barely any shopping at all, so I don’t have to network with an elite group to go to a more natural setting, as heavily regulated as that setting is. Border patrol keeps the Mexicans from crossing the Rio Grande. There are signs that say it is illegal to purchase things from aliens. We saw a few trinkets with money jars next to them right along the river. You aren’t allowed to take your dogs on the trails. They export, import, and kill animals according to their current studies of the original environment. Nature is apparently high maintenance. But that is because our habits have become so unnatural.