434 forum posts
Yes, it’s different. When we hike in the Sierra, we don’t see many couples hiking together. We see a lot of men, and a few groups of women. But plain old couples like us, not so much.
And it’s funny what happens when all those men see M on the trail. P tends to hike a little faster than M, so he usually greets these hikers first. They are perfectly happy to be seen resting on the side of the trail while P hikes up and past them. All is well in the world until M comes around the corner. The minute they see the lovely M hiking along, they make a great struggle to get going again. They jump to their feet, hoist up their packs, give a few grunts, and push themselves up the trail.
So now we are hiking along the trail, P in front, and a group of guys who are just killing themselves to keep up, and M hiking merrily behind them all. The only problem is, they often can’t keep up the pace. And so, slowly and inexorably, M passes them by. Her only hope is that they don’t die of a heart attack while she does so. They gasp and wheeze, sweat and groan. M smiles sweetly at them. Well, sometimes she does.
They just don’t want to admit that a woman might hike faster than they do—especially a woman of a certain age. (And no, we are not disclosing proprietary information. Let’s just that we’ve been married well over thirty years, and neither of us is in the bloom of youth.)
It’s true that there are a lot of people who hike faster than we do. We’re happy to let them walk on by. And we admit that we often have an advantage, as our packs are certainly lighter than a lot of the packs that we see on the trail. It’s always easier to climb up a pass with 25 pounds than with 45 pounds. Or sixty.
But none of that matters to those guys when M appears on the trail.