Anatomy of a Hike

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Hiking in the “Riviera” area above Santa Barbara, California


It’s been sooo long since I’ve written a post, I bet you thought I’d really taken a hike. I’m not going to list a bunch of boring excuses. Sometimes life just beckons and you have to come running (does that count as exercise?)

Anyway, I’m back. Are the mailing issues with my posts rectified? Let’s not get crazy, but they should be soon. If it makes you feel any better (and why shouldn’t it, misery loves company) a few other important things in life fell by the wayside too. Like physical activity. That also needs rectifying. Can’t be heading into the holiday season without jangling the molecules regularly.


IMG_2146A trail head in Sun Valley, Idaho


Starting with a hike this weekend. Well, probably later today 🙂

Which reminded me I started a post about this very subject quite awhile back.

Are you in need of more cardio too? Come join me then!

But first, I think it’s only fair to break down the anatomy of hiking with me before you commit.



L1030108Slim of Arabia


1) Starting off. The Part where I inevitably complain about walking to the hike. Because, maybe you’ve noticed this-a lot of hikes involve a hike to the hike. And this first part doesn’t actually count as the hike. God forbid. This is certainly true of Santa Barbara and Sun Valley.  If I had my druthers, I would drive to the hike. Plus it’s so much easier to snack driving than walking.




2) The Part where I don’t get my druthers.




3) The part where I attempt to establish that I’ll be setting the pace. (see my husband up ahead, hanging on my every word?)


890A8320Hiking in Utah


4) The part where my fellow hikers are still not abiding by my setting the pace rule.  Hello up there… I just want you to know…YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!!


5) Back to the Beginning Part. Where we invariably pass super fit looking people all jazzed and exhilarated because they are coming DOWN (never has the word been so appealing) as we are just starting up.


Husband usually bids them a jaunty “Have a good one”.  I find this exerts too much energy. I’m already too winded from the pre-hike to be nice (non-jealous) but  manage my best faux sporty Hey-we’re-all-in-this-together smile while hoping their dog’s drool hasn’t penetrated my cheap fanny pack and besmirched my cookie wrapped in kleenex because we were out of sandwich bags.





I almost forgot Stage 6) Pre-Hike Prep; Where I thought it would be a great idea to bring super fresh coconut water. Electrolytes People. Should it be this hard?? Meanwhile, husband is waiting. And waiting. Needs to get back before the game starts. Mission aborted. Plain water it is. After 3 different hiking bottles fail to close properly, I pick the least leaky one. Aluminum. Aluminam. Metal. yuk. Can’t add ice now because bottle’s too cold to carry.

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My friend’s sweet dog in Sun Valley.


7) The Part where I start to question every item of clothing I’m wearing, lament the things I forgot; Bear whistle, flare, SPF lipstick, and worry water bottle wasn’t cleaned properly as it tastes like last year. Have to hold it straight up or it leaks. Start to complain about coconut water again…if I’d only had 10 more minutes…I’m going to write to Atkinson’s and tell them they should pre-drill their coconuts for God’s sake.


Hiking in Sun Valley Idaho , Slim Paley, Instagram


8) The part where the sun starts Ferngullying through the trees, I get a second wind, a huge surge of seratonin, and forget I’m possibly being poisoned by dog drool and rancid water.





There is indeed heaven in them there mountains.


mountain wild flowers slim paley


Stage 9, where I feign way too much interest in some really boring wild flowers so I can stop and rest for a minute.




Fascinating symmetry on this wild dandelion, too bad all you ‘speed hikers’ are missing it.



The top of Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka, just after sunrise.


Stage 10- Hurray! Getting close to the top. All of a sudden I have “THE MOMENT”. Cue music (can’t do that anymore with my new format)


Hiking Sun Valley  Slim Paley


Everything is right with the world and I can’t understand why I don’t hike Every  Single  Day.  It’s the BEST!!

Stage 11) What is wrong with me?!! ( immediately reverting back to self-incrimination)  I look down, see how far we still have to hike and the bottom of a toe on my left foot begins to burn. It occurs to me applying “Baby Foot”  the morning before a long hike was maybe not the best idea.


coming down Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka

The easiest part of the very long trek down Adam’s Peak after sunrise, Sri Lanka


hiking, Sun Valley  Slim Paley


Part 12) We’re almost at the bottom. My toe is nearly numb, which is good, but I grow concerned that we won’t run into anyone just beginning the hike so I can laud it over them. What the hell. Where’s the fun in that?? There were so many people coming down when we were coming up…Murphy’s Law.

13) The part where I remember we still have the hike home when we get to the bottom. omg. I’m never doing this hike again. No pay off.


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14)  The Pay Off




15) The Wind Down




16) The Reward


Still coming??!


Happy Trails!

PS. What is Baby Foot ??






  1. I’m with you on this one – it’s not that I’m out of shape – well maybe I am – but just not too motivated. Certainly the vistas and nature are worth it. But, I agree with you – I hate the hike to the hike. Please someone drive me…

  2. This left me laughing. Since I moved to our vacation home in the N.C. mountains full time four months ago, I keep thinking I’m acclimated. I may be used to the altitude, however . . . So disappointing to be the one trailing behind. Like you, I am the one carrying the camera, so I’m always stopping for photo ops. We can feel justified that we’re taking the time to appreciate the journey and are not just racing to the top, right? Closer to home, my problem is after walking down to the mailbox, I still can’t make it up the driveway without pausing. So I have to stop and do a little judicious weeding. Now that it’s cold, I’m more likely to drive. It IS long and steep.

  3. Slim: I love your sense of humour, I was laughing out loud! Hilarious.. but yea the payoff it’s definitely worth it. And that Sri Lanka post that you originally did was probably the most inspiring post, that was totally amazing, love your photos too! Thanks for the inspiration and laughter. N

  4. Clearly I could never go on a hike with you as I would be whining about all the same things. We’d never make it! I’d also be gasping for breath as you cracked me up! I have to admit though – I’ve turned down more than one as the walk to was just too long!

  5. Stopped dead at #9 and was laughing so loud my husband wanted to know what was so funny. I can’t tell him because then he’ll be on to my “stopping to…smell the roses/check out the view/listen to the wind” during our travels and hikes because I just need some OXYGEN, man. Does laughing {and crying laughing} count as “jangling the molecules”? Hope so because I just burned major calories reading this hysterical post.

  6. I myself used to go on long walks with my husband too. But nowadays, the ONLY exercise I am getting is when I teach myself flamenco dancing!!!!! 🙁 Honest to god Slim, I have to man up and go on hikes again with my husband just like you do! 🙂

  7. Slim, LOVED!! I just read this out loud to the husband and he swears I wrote it. Especially the,’ why don’t I do this every day?’ is hilarious. That is so true at the hilltop! I couldn’t agree more about the hike to the hike thing right? Lol. Another reason I love you and your blog. x Kim

  8. BEAUTIFUL photos of the vistas.
    But the best part of the hike ???
    THE WINE and the hot tub at the end !! woo hoo !!!!!!!!!

  9. You crack me up…you always do. But this was out loud…sorry dear, I didn’t think my laughter would cut through that ear splitting snoring coming from your side of the bed!

  10. I’ll go any where with you..but can’t say the H word . Hike sounds like work to me

    We could perambulate, saunter or just plain walk

  11. Having just returned from the hike of all hikes up to Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan, this post rang especially true, and had me laughing out loud!
    Don’t leave us for too long, we need your daily dose of the stuff of life, oh and are you making your gift giving ideas for Christmas this year? You saved me with that one many Christmases!

    • Oh YAY! You went to Bhutan! Isn’t the hike to The Tiger’s Nest fabulous?! I hope you enjoyed your Bhutanese experience as much as we did. Such lovely people.
      I DO hope to share some gift giving ideas- via Daily Paleys , which means you may, or may not, get an email alert… just sayin’ 😮

      • Yesss!! We DID go to Bhutan and YOUR blog from a few years ago was the WHOLE inspiration for this magical trip! When I saw your blog I had but heard the word Bhutan. Thank you for inspiring us to take this magical trip. (and now we know you had NOT photoshopped the “wall art” of Punakha :-)) Your Myanmar blog now has me planning the next trip!! 🙂
        Holding out for the gift giving Daily Paley. Oh, and by the way, never got the “troublesome” alerts, could it be because I have you subscribed on “Bloglovin”?

  12. Hey Slim,
    Can we be best non-hiking buds? Every time I even THINK of hiking I feel an episode of low blood sugar coming on… ; ) . I was quite the lithe mountain goat when I was a lass, youth…Oh well, a new phase of life and new things to do ; ). Thanks for the really fun post!!!

  13. Always so happy to see your post, I go to it first! But please continue the music I’ll never forget your Sri Lanka post & the glorious music!

  14. Hilarious! One hike memory for me……”easy hike honey” as he is smiling at me while looking over some topo maps….Behind Emerald bay in Tahoe. End of story… it is straight up and down, takes a whole day and the only water containers I could find had been used for hot sauce on a picnic. Plastic can’t completely rid itself of the taste of hot sauce. Salsa-tasting water on a hot summer hike makes its own memories. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Haven’t done much hiking since. You are my hero!

  15. oh i just adore a hike. not being ironic. there are plenty of walks in london but no hikes and a hike makes you fit whereas a walk just clears the mind. not that i am complaining too much. but the only hike i didnt make bc of lack of planning and water was going up yosemite falls. made it half way and i still regret it to this day. You are so lucky to live in the states where they seem to have the best trails!

  16. Slim,
    I love to hike. Don’t ask me to go to the gym or to jog, but hiking is a favorite thing for me. You’ve hiked on some amazing trails, that would be a double bonus, zapping a few calories and seeing the beauty around you!
    Happy you’re back.

  17. Slim, loved this one. I grew up hiking with my family in the High Sierra’s. I am definitely one of slow ones, but I love to just enjoy the hike. You will never see the same scenery twice, because nature is always changing. Thanks for bringing back some great memories for me.

  18. Yikes, trying to do too many things at once…..that sounded so abrupt. Your photos are so great, and I haven’t noticed a big change recently, so I’m wondering if you are still using the Leica D-Lux 3. I need to get a new camera, and I remember you swooning over the Leica X1. I would prefer not to spend the money for the more costly camera, but I’m a newly at photography, and I value your opinion.
    Thanks again,

  19. “Trying to do too many things at once” …hmmmm…what’s THAT like?!
    I still have the Leica D-Lux 3, I didn’t upgrade to the X1. That being said, most of the hiking photos are taken with my iPhone as I rarely take a camera-camera hiking. Since the Dropping my New iPhone Down the Glacier Incident, I have bought a couple of phone lanyards.

  20. Want to hike Tiger’s Nest with me? I am organizing a once in a lifetime trip in March. It is a challenge but magical! Sounds like you will appreciate the option to just hike 45 minutes to the cafe. XO

    • It’s an incredible hike Barbara. You’re going to love it. A challenge but magical indeed! Bhutan is a beautiful, pure & peaceful country.

  21. I am so glad you are back. I have missed you. You were my treat to myself!

    xo Leslie Magidsohn

  22. Love Chocolate Gulch. Plus I’m always the caboose carrying my Wildflower identification book. Love the lunch at the top. Viewing the world and knowing I only have 3-4 more miles to go.

Would love to hear from you!