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What I Did (Far Too Much of) On My Summer Vacation

Just a short note from the road tonight; I'm still in the early part of my week's vacation with the missus and a couple of friends in Glacier Park.

(That's in Montana. They don't have a lot of internets in Montana, apparently, so we have to ration. Trees, they have. And bears. And huckleberries, of all things. But not so much the internets. I'll try to be brief.

It probably won't work.)

As I mentioned, we're in Glacier Park, which is not as aptly named as it perhaps could be. There are a couple of glaciers, from what I can gather -- we may see these in person later on in the trip -- but mostly, the park is full of big huge mountains that were forged by glaciers, way back in the past.

"It's like being told a major league pitcher is stopping by, and then it's just Anna Benson."

Which is not the same thing, exactly. It's like being told a major league pitcher is stopping by, and then it's just Anna Benson. Or that you'll be meeting an Olympic champion, and then the Kardashian kids show up. Not the same. At all.

I guess "Enormous Hunks of Rock That Were Scraped Against for Millions of Years by a Glacier Park" just didn't have the right ring. And wouldn't fit on a commemorative novelty cowboy hat, probably. Pity.

Still, the scenery is phenomenal. Lakes and mountains and hills and trees and all the other things that high-pitched lady was singing out in The Sound of Music, probably. Only without the well-trained children. Or the Nazis. So there are pluses and minuses.

Our main activity today was hiking. You might think hiking is a lot like walking, but no. I'm a walker. I walk all the time. I like walking, and -- as a biped -- I feel I've got a pretty good handle on the activity. Hiking seemed like a natural jump.

But no.

Hiking is a different animal altogether. You can't just "walk" and pretend that you're hiking. Hiking is related to walking, nominally, but on top of rocks and at altitude. If you want to approximate a real hiking experience, you could wrap a treadmill in extra-coarse sandpaper, set the terrain to "roller coaster", put a heat lamp overhead and suck half the oxygen out of the room.

Two miles of that would give you a good taste of "hiking". Then, apparently, you hike nine and a half more. I don't know why. It's because humans are inherently evil, I suspect, and must be punished. That's the explanation that makes the most sense right now.

To be fair, I'm not a "hiker". At this point, I'm not sure I'll be much of a "walker" -- or for that matter, a "not-doubled-over-in-debilitating-painer" -- for the next couple of days, either. I was prepared for hiking, when I thought it was mostly just walking, but with more expensive shoes and a backpack full of trail mix. I was off by a little, and am suffering now for my error. My wife is better off, but also hurting in a lot of places. Most of them below the knees.

Our friends, by the way -- who are actual hikers -- called the trek "relatively straightforward". Meanwhile, I may have lost a couple of toenails. I'm frankly afraid to check. Or to move.

So that's our first nearly-alpine adventure. Tomorrow is whitewater rafting, which I suspect is a lot like taking a bath, only with a paddle and with slightly cooler water.

Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?

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