Opinion — I should have worn different shoes: hiking Hogback Mountain

CW: gore.
SKYLINE — Though the hike was tough, the view was worth the battle.
SKYLINE — Though the hike was tough, the view was worth the battle.
Megan Poe

Don’t say I never sacrificed for student journalism, because I have sapling punctures up and down my legs that prove otherwise.

Last weekend, I booked out the entire day to embark on a typical outdoor rec major’s Tuesday morning before class: I hiked Hogback Mountain. March, as I learned, isn’t the ideal month to attempt this feat. 

This was the slipperiest, muddiest nature walk of my life. The website said “mountain climbing” which I scoffed at while tying up my Adidas shoes, but when I faced The Hog’s wrath, I was begging for mercy for my underestimation. The first half of the hike was pleasant; the trails were even and smooth, there were little lookouts along the way, and even a cute little bridge to cross a small creek. The trail markings were clearly indicated in blue on the trees, I only got turned around once. By the time I reached the sign labeled “summit,” I had more than enough energy to be optimistic about the ascent. 

There were two steep trails leading up to the summit, one of which is only recommended for summer hiking. Of course, I was not aware of this distinction at the time. My lack of awareness for the direction everybody else was migrating cost me in the end. 

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The ground of the trail I chose was lacquered with slick forest drainage, and the majority was frozen over with hazardous melting ice. The only refuge was clinging and flinging myself from the sturdiness of one branch to another while finding seldom footing on half-swallowed rocks. The further I ascended, the more I was worried about getting back down.

On one particular conundrum, I thought my only choice of traversing the terrain was digging my nails into moss beds and clawing my way up boulders to avoid the ice. When my footing inevitably faltered, I slipped and was poked aggressively in the eye by a sapling branch, and in the scrambling to save myself from rolling down the hill and smacking my head on a tree trunk, I reared both my calf and thigh into a sharp branch. I pretended the adrenaline fueled my strength to persevere and overcome the injury, in reality, all I needed was a small band-aid. 

Triumphantly, I wheezed my way to the top summit, sputtering and clutching the stab wounds in my legs. I could feel blood trickling down my leg underneath my pants, but at least I could live with the satisfaction that I didn’t succumb to Sugarloaf’s stairway tourist trap.

 I needn’t describe the view as I’ve provided a visual for you to spare the public from a similar fate. The sense of accomplishment wears off quicker than you’d think. The sight of the Superior Dome from Hogback is similar to what I’d imagine what seeing the Great Wall of China from space is like. Witnessing our tiny civilization from a superior vantage point didn’t make me feel small or insignificant like all of the granola people rave about, instead, I felt I was in dire need of the little box of yogurt-covered raisins I packed. I ate them immediately. 

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