Coming home early from work with a splitting headache from pollen allergies (no free lunch – can’t enjoy 75 degree weather in late winter and not pay for it), I decided to finish reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Reading about Bryson’s travails on the Appalachian Trail was just what the doctor ordered. Actually, that would be a double dose of Allegra-D, enough to knock out an elephant. But, I, having abandoned both the diet and the diet diary without notice one fine morning, hung in better than that elephant. And Bryson’s self-deprecating, humorous style of writing appealed to me. So I continued reading.
The one thought that I carried away from the book was this: Every 20 minutes on the AT, Bryson walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93% of all trips outside the home, Americans apparently jump in a car these days. On average, Bryson estimated the total walking of an American these days as up to 1.4 miles per week, barely 350 yards a day!
While the stats are questionable, I am pretty sure I am not far from his estimate. If anything, I might be one of those that pulls down the average. I racked my brains to remember the last time I went hiking and this is what I came up with: Twice back in the late 1990s while in graduate school, and once while visiting friends in 2005 (I don’t even think that was a hike – more like rock climbing near a beach, come to think of it). A whopping three times in the last 18 years!!
I told you that I had our next trip planned – a road trip to VT. I didn’t tell you that I had a day by day itinerary planned as well (yes, I am that compulsive). After reading about a man walking hundreds of miles through rough terrain, I reviewed my planned itinerary and found entries such as “Day 1 – Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory”, “Day 2 – Maple Sugar Factory, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Company”, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, I decided to throw a couple of hikes into the mix. I looked up suggested hikes in VT, and picked a couple that were suitable for preschoolers (I must admit that I was thinking less of little A than of my own lazy self). N, who knows that my lists change daily, agreed indulgently.
In the meantime, once I get past these darned sniffles (and get past I will, with my friend Allegra-D), I am going to walk (no, not in the woods yet, just around my cul-de-sac) for more than 20 minutes a day.
You got to start somewhere, no?