The Belated Hike Experience

featuring:

Lauren: the ever-clumsy, blogger, chef, and health-food conessiour; loves Greek yogurt, subtitles, sarcasm, things that make sense, eating with baby spoons (should that really have followed "loves things that make sense"?), and misquoting her favorite TV shows. She is always smiling (and speaking of smiling: guess who officially has smile lines at 19? You guessed it. This girl. Oh well, people will know that I have lived a joyful life... or maybe they will think I have Progeria and am rapidly aging. I am fine with either, really.) Oh yea, and she gets distracted really easily (and at this point my mother would normally insert some comment about a squirrel, but I refuse. Well, considering I just mentioned the squirrel, I guess I just contradicted myself. Mother is always right.)



Christina: the best little Korean roommate in the history of the world. Sounds like a valley girl from California, employs the perfect combination of elegance and minimalism. She can paint nails (she can French Tip with the best of them), loves Fresh Market runs, sweet potato fries, flowing where the wind takes her, parking on row 9, Starbucks, being patient with Lauren when she so often gets them lost, and pretty exercise clothes.



And then there's... Hannah.
Hannah: the lovely, long-time friend, roommate, and 1/8th sister two Lauren, twice removed. Enjoys making strange noises, singing, watching Disney movies, referencing Lost and Criminal Minds (okay, so maybe Lauren does that more than she does), impersonating Disney princesses, attempting to run through water with her shoes on (because if she does it quickly enough, she won't get wet. Flash), and filming Lauren in her most embarrassing moments, among other things.




And.... curtain!
The I woke up this morning, the sun came out, and my homework was getting less and less important by the minute. I am quite blessed to live with some, er, adventurous roommates, Hannah and Christina. Sooooooo... I put on some "nature" clothes, I grabbed my favorite protein bar, a bottle of water (yes, I am staying hydrated mom), some hydrocortizone cream (for the bug bites, thanks mom), my cell phone (too many Criminal Minds episodes to go without it *shudder*), and we hit the road! We were off! Nothing could stop us!


Well, except the train. The train could stop us. And it did. We stopped.
But then we were off again!
And then we got lost trying to find the nature reserve.

But we found it! What did people do before GPS? Did they... actually... have to... talk to people? (Apparently they had never seen Criminal Minds.) Anyway, we got a map, found the trail, but right before we left, it hit.
You know. Think, you are a woman, you just drank a bottle of water, and you are about to go on a seven mile hike, completely away from civilization, completely away from, ehem, restrooms...
So, like the sensible people we are, we saw the little restroom sign on the map of the park, and it just happened to be very close to where we were. "Oh! How convenient!" we thought, "How nice of the park people to put a restroom here for all of us lovely little ladies."
And it was nice, you know, if it would have been unlocked. But, of course, it wasn't. Why would you unlock a public bathroom? There is absolutely no sense in that?
So we tried the next best thing... the men's bathroom.
Locked too.

Desperate for a bathroom, we hopped back in the car and found the closest gas station. Oh, how I love bathroom gas stations! They are right on the top of my list of favorites, you know, right up there with writing a 15 page essay on the impact of the Victorian literature on traditional gender roles, going away for a girls weekend and coming home to a lovely pile of dishes that smell faintly of stale pizza and death, and talking about bodily functions. Right up there guys, right up there.



After the bathroom stop, it got better. A lot better. That's when the good day began.
So, we got back to the trail entrance, and off we went! It was absolutely beautiful!



Okay, so I'm sitting here, writing this post, and I'm watching a Tinkerbell movie. And it's really good. I am having quite a hard time paying attention right now. Please forgive me.
The hike today, Lauren. Focus. The hike today...

 ...Yea, this was pretty...

Oh yea! This nice little "bridge."
Lauren and friends walked up to the "bridge" (well it's technically not a "bridge," it was more of a watery walkway). We came up to it and didn't think a thing about it. Little Lauren just unwittingly walked right through it. The water came up to my ankles. Not a good thing. We were only about 1/2 of a mile into a six or seven mile hike. We were off to a great start!


At least I wasn't in tennis shoes.
But the others were! They, lagging behind me, proceeded to take off their shoes and socks and wade through the water. Then we sat there for about ten minutes waiting for our feet dry. I'm warning you: don't go on a hike with us if you are not serious about it. We are hardcore hikers.


||Time Lapse||

Okay, so now it is officially a week later, and Lauren, the slacking blogger, failed to finish her blog post the other night. She will now presume her story as she tries to the best of her ability to recall what happened exactly one week ago today. Warning: Before writing this post, Lauren took three exams within several hours of each other, and, because of that, she is more than likely not in the proper frame of mind. She apologizes in advance for anything she may say that might seem incoherent, strange, or repetitive.
Let us begin... again.


After that initial adventure, we proceeded along the trail (which sometimes looked a little too similar to scenes from Lost), we walked and walked, I had a miniature heart attack each time a bee/wasp/buzzing object would make its way into my 5 foot radius *danger* zone. As we continued walking, we were able to observe the intricacies of nature:

Like this tree that looks suspiciously like an yawning elderly man who was turned into stone by the evil white witch of Narnia,
In retrospect, maybe my mind fogged up that memory a bit because now that I look at it, that image is not the first thing that comes to my mind.

But on our journey, we saw other things too!
Like sunlight. (Sunlight. Hmmm, who knew? Although I was beginning to doubt it when it snowed two days after spring break.)


And wood. We saw wood. In both alive (tree) form and dead (bridge) form, both forms together in harmony (hmm, that must be awkward for them).


We managed to pause for a nature selfie. Why not? (I say with shame.)


A deer! We saw a deer! Of course, I may or may not have thought it was a dog, Christina may or may not have tried to attract it with strange clicking sounds, and Hannah may or may not have tried to chase it while trying to make a collar for it out of tree vines (and that would be when the may not portion of the statement comes into effect). Despite all of our oddness, I did manage to take a picture of it just for my blog family; you should feel honored!


We also saw this! I had to capture a picture of it because of how it oddly reminiscent of both Tarzan and that scene in Lady and the Tramp where Lady and Tramp go out on a "date" (strange) and end up under some kind of waterfall with a slow, sad song in the background. Yes, they filmed that here.




Look guys! Nature! Trees, leaves, sky, branches, flowers, bugs, photosynthesis in action. Very nice.

It was at times like these that Hannah and I would incessantly banter about how much the woods around us looked like Lost; however, I am assuming that our experience was nothing unique, per se. More than likely, the majority of the natural parks, hiking trails, and uninhabited forests bare some resemblance to a Hollywood TV show set.


I took this picture with intentions of writing some deep metaphorical thought about how we find beauty in the strangest of places, but my level of sentimentality is at a bare minimum right now.
As in, puppies are cute, but it doesn't go much deeper than that.
1 day + 3 exams = mentally exhausted Lauren.


On the way back, we did manage to take our shoes off and wade through the water. Before we all walked shoeless through the water, my ever-so-lovely cohabitant (a.k.a. roommate) Hannah was going to "run through the water really fast so maybe her shoes wouldn't get wet." Apparently, the power of the sunshine and nature had so surrounded her that she was under the impression that she could run through 6" deep water an not get wet. I think we were all pretty tired at that point, case in point.
After we brought Hannah down from her superhero cloud, we all waded through the water together, which was quite a refreshing close to our hike (about a half a mile from the trail entrance). After the "water passing" we once again sat on the ground waiting for our feet to dry (like I said, hardcore hikers).
Sidenote: This picture looks slightly like a commercial about some impoverished region in South America. A sad song about freedom and the value of life is playing in the background, and a woman comes on the screen and asks you to call today to donate $15 and give a child access to clean water for a month.
That may have sounded a bit to harsh; let me clarify: there is nothing wrong with those commercials (well, some of them anyway). Sorry guys, I have no "properness" (that's not a word.) about me right now; I am barely managing to get my words out on the screen. Eh... eh.... ehhh...

Has anyone besides me noticed my excessive use of commas today?


Water! We saw water. It was... nice (oh dear, I have reduced my vocabulary to "nice." Maybe I just need to end this post here).


Well, I say that, and then I realize that I have no more pictures to show you guys. So I really am done.

I am off to work out with the lovely, aforementioned Christina. Then we are off to Walmart to buy what we need for homemade healthy pizza night! We had a homemade healthy pizza night last weekend, and everyone loved it so much that we are doing it again!
Don't worry; it will show up in a blog post soon enough!

Stay well, my friends! Until next time.

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