Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

05 May 2012, 22:25 p.m.

Hiking Lessons Part II: Trekking

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

More long walks. A few weeks ago, hiked Sweeney Ridge (south of San Francisco) with my friend Susan McCarthy. Last weekend, circumnavigated Central Park. Today, walked from Astoria to Flushing, took the 7 train to 111th Street, walked the rest of the way back. (Took a break to tour Louis Armstrong's old house on 107th Street.)

  • I like hiking and trekking! I like hills better than level ground, semi-tame nature better than streets, and mostly-residential streets better than all-storefront thoroughfares. And hiking with a naturalist like Susan is fantastic; it's like having a curator give you a museum tour.
  • Susan brought an extra plastic grocery bag with her just to pick up trash on the trail. Genius!
  • I am now the target market for podcasts. Today, richly enjoyed Marc Maron's WTF show for the first time, specifically Mindy Kaling's interview. So interesting to hear her recapitulating Trollope's legitimate anxiety that the diligent don't get as much critical respect as do creators with zero project management skills. Also catching up on This American Life, BBC's The Now Show and news quiz, and You Look Nice Today.
  • I got blisters today. I need to figure out how to prevent and treat them. I hope my new hiking shoes are not irreparably at fault, because then I'd have to return them via mail to San Francisco, which blargh.
  • Our durable water bottles leak! I think they were both freebies from Foo Camp. I will be acquiring lightweight collapsible ones (sadly lost the one with a built-in carabiner that I got as a random Google gift last year). Or I may take Selena's suggestion and turn into a camel! (Selena, maybe we could hike together at the end of Open Source Bridge weekend?)
  • My meh flask, on the other hand, which I received as a gift from AN ACTUAL PERSON and not a corporation, holds up just fine. However it only holds 5 ounces, which doesn't feel like enough water to bring for a multi-hour excursion. I therefore reserve it for sipping whiskey.
  • The OSCON freebie backpack is still holding up fine. Kinda wish the outer pockets were deeper & had zippers or other closures, though. Oh well, free.
  • I can probably afford to cut down on the food I'm bringing, depending on my environment. I don't need a pound of trail mix AND dried fruit if I'm walking in Queens and I can just get dumplings for lunch.
  • I get freaked out when I see a small animal trapped in a plastic bag and struggling to get out. (It was a bird, and it got out on its own, as I was cautiously approaching with a stick to help.) I adore seeing birds living their self-assured lives, preferably further away than arms' length from me. Rodents will freak me out within about 5 feet.
  • People in the middle of Queens are more laissez-faire than I'd like about leaving their dogs off-leash.
  • There are at least two benches in Central Park whose dedication plaques mention that this is "a bench for a mensch."