Before this summer, I had never gone on a hike before. But it was something I always wanted to do.
I remember one of my dad’s friends from high school trying to get a group together to go on a hike. I don’t know exactly what was said between the two, but I imagine it went something like this:
Via email, Dave (my dad’s friend): “Hey Peter, would be great if we could get a group together to hike the Catskills.” Dad: Reluctantly responds saying that we’re on vacation.
Repeat this exchange about two or three more times. Poor Dave, or Uncle Dave as I call him, was determined to get a hike together. But in a bittersweet twist of fate, we were on vacation literally every time he asked.
So, my hiking career was basically nonexistent. But the desire to hike remained.
I was talking to my friend Greg over the summer and we somehow ended up on the subject of hiking. Greg, who’s been hiking ever since his parents bought him hiking boots at age eight and told him he was going hiking, agreed to introduce me to it.
You’re probably thinking that Greg would choose an easy hike for my first hike. Well, you would be correct. The first hike I took on was one called Anthony’s Nose. Considered a beginner-level to intermediate-level hike, I didn’t find it to be that challenging. There were several difficult, uphill moments, but for the most part, it was more of a scenic hike.
Anthony’s Nose did do one thing for me, however. It left me wanting to hike even more.
Well, readers, friends and members of the Assumption College community, more is exactly what I got. For my second hike, Greg chose Breakneck Ridge, which is about a 20-minute drive from my house in New York.
When you hear the name “Breakneck,” it doesn’t exactly sound like a nice stroll through the park. I told my mom I was going to hike Breakneck and said it was a crazy steep hike and she just rolled her eyes as if to say, “why would you want to do that?”
I remember driving up to Breakneck with Greg and seeing the sheer size of the mountain. I remember walking up to a sign before we started the hike and reading 1,260-foot ascent. I remember walking in my Nike Free Runs next to Greg in his state-of-the-art hiking boots and seeing other hikers walking in their state-of-the-art hiking boots and thinking – Uh oh.
Well, readers, friends and members of the Assumption College community, it’s called Breakneck for a reason. At one point, I was essentially rock-climbing. There were times where the only thing standing between me and a horrific death was loose grass and soil adjacent to the path. There were times where I was crawling up and down rock scrambles (steep terrain) on all fours. There were also times where I felt like I was lifting my leg up higher than the Rockettes just to reach certain points.
But I survived it. And Greg, who knows this hike like the back of his hand and is a good athlete, said I kept up with him well. I was proud of myself that I was able to do that.
But in contrast to the physical challenge of the hike, it presented me with mental relief. I remember distinctly talking the NBA and NFL off-seasons with Greg as well as the MLB season. Since Greg and I are both into classic rock, we ranked our top five bands of all time on the hike as well.
Back when I was watching my dad and Uncle Dave try to get a hike together, I thought hikes were boring. They are the opposite of boring. They challenge you physically, engage you mentally and provide you with great views of nature. Thanks to my friend Greg, I am a fan of hiking now. Maybe now is the time to get that hike together with Uncle Dave.
Tim Capurso, a senior, studies English. He is the Sports Editor of Le Provocateur.