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The Group Hike
While I was walking uphill on my usual Saturday hike, I encountered a large group of hikers walking downhill. There were around a dozen walkers, and I stood patiently by the side of the path to let the caravan pass.

Before I talk more about the group, I should say that if signing up for a group hike encourages you to go out into the woods, go for it. I totally understand that some folks need the social motivation to go out and tramp around nature for a few hours. Some folks like hiking with groups. I personally like to just go, walk for a few hours, clear my head.

Still this group was so amusing that they cried out to be blogged about. Blog about us! Blog about us! They seemed to collectively shout. Usually, when I've encountered big groups on trails, there's one or two divas and the rest have their head down as they wonder when it will be over.

So on Saturday, I stood to the side and said hello to folks as they came down past me. I'm a big fan of saying hello. It opens up the communication and shows that I'm not completely anti-social. I've noticed that on some trails in the LA area folks don't want to say hello. In fact, they don't want to make eye contact as if they're afraid I'll carjack them. Whatever. Move on.

Because the hiking group was a cheerful social Saturday morning group that had probably only walked about a mile and a half, many said hello back.

You have a lot of uphill to go. One lady clad all in REI gear told me.

Thanks. I said then I thought about what she had said.

Why was she telling me that? Of course I have a lot of uphill to go. In fact, I do that trail for the uphill which I was doing at a very nice pace until I had to stop for the freight train of hikers. Such a statement was not only redundant and obvious, but it does not help my situation which wasn't really a situation but now my head was turning it into one. All I had said was hello.

Then a guy strumming some pop song on a guitar walked by. Really? He was feeling it. The nature. The sunshine. The music. Seriously?

All my tears have been used up
On another love. . . .

Ladies and Gentlemen, the reason I do not group hike.

I continued to hello the people who passed and wondered out loud who was gonna shoot the guitar player. One guy turned back to me and pointed to himself. I felt bad for that guy, but then I realized that if he was truly miserable, he could just leave the group.

More hikers passed. One couple (a man and woman) were having a serious discussion.

It makes me depressed. The woman said.

Don't be depressed. I said as they passed. The woman looked at me with uncertainty but kept walking.

Finally, the last stragglers took up the rear. They were the folks who liked to go slow on the downhill. I understand that mentality. I like to go slow on the downhill too. It's a hike not a race. It's okay. It's all okay.

When I finally had a human-free trail in front of me, I started going again. A few yards on, I encountered a lone person standing and taking in the view. I wondered if he had once been part of the group hike and had decided to ditch it. Was he gonna go his own way? I said hello. He said hello. Then I continued on.

At my first rest stop, I sat in the shade and ate a tangerine. I hoped the group hike was having a good time going to wherever they were going. I didn't rest long. I had to go to a play reading later in the day, and I had a few miles to walk before then.

Topanga Canyon

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