A special guest post, unedited by the Fat Man:
Hello there, reader. Would you like to hear about the Fat Man’s hikes from a fresh perspective? Tentatively, yes? Good enough, here goes.
I’m Lucas Olson, son of David Olson, known here as the The Fat Man of the Mountains. Judging by the posts I’ve read here, most of you will probably know me as “the boy,” since he uses that often enough it probably deserves status as a nickname. I may not have a journalism degree (or any degree at all) but my father is not the only one who can write. His Father’s Day present, which he asked for personally, was for me to write an entry on the blog. He even said I could make fun of him I wanted (perhaps not his wisest decision). How could I possibly refuse that offer?
I’ve been hiking with my father since, well, pretty much since he started this blog. Obviously before that as well, but I don’t really think of Carter Ledge (our first hike together) as hiking. Not any more. When we first did it, it felt like hiking. It was a trek. We were sweaty and panting when we got to the top (yet still managed to look like we were photoshopped into the pictures.) But now I’ve been up and down other, more imposing slopes, and Carter Ledge isn’t the impressive feat that it felt like in 2008 (or 2007, I can’t recall).
Since the hike on Carter Ledge four or five years ago, my father and I have been hiking. Oh man, have we been hiking. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know that. Or at least you know that he has been hiking, I’m here mostly in kind references and photographs, but I’ve been right alongside him (or in most cases, in front of him) for most of hikes on this blog. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
Well, probably not every minute. When we first really started hiking, I was not a very good hiking partner. I whined. I got a “sore stomach.” I got a “headache.” I insisted on stopping for unhelpfully long breaks. I whined some more. Usually, I’d quiet down by the time we reached the summit. Whether that’s because I was in awe of the beautiful vistas, or because whining wouldn’t get me down any faster short of inciting someone to push me off a ledge, remains a mystery to this day. Whatever the case, I usually enjoyed it in retrospect, and that was enough to get me to come back. Eventually, I started enjoying the actual hike more than the end of the hike. As you can imagine, things have gotten better since then.
As a matter of fact, I’ve begun to enjoy hiking more the more we have done it. Especially once I got genuinely good at it, and began outpacing my father (Editor’s note: This is still the source of much debate in the Fat Man household). This doesn’t sound look something that would be very impressive (“walking slowly” is in the tagline, after all), but my father runs in his free time as well as hikes. I wasn’t a very physically active preteen when we started hiking, and my pace reflected that. For a while after I improved, I would end up shooting ahead of him on the trail and the waiting, out of breath, for him to catch up. Now we both just tend to move at different paces, and neither of us are particularly bothered by this (as far as I know). Which isn’t to say my father’s pace hasn’t quickened as we’ve gained more experience. This past Sunday (Father’s Day) we had our first large hike of the season up Mt. Moriah, and no one passed us on the trail. Now, perhaps that is because there was barely anyone else on the trail, but I’d prefer to think we’re just more awesome than we previously were. Either way, I’m sure he’ll have more to say about that when he writes up the blog entry for the past hike. Speaking of which…
I’ve been following this blog, along with everyone else, since my father started it a few years ago. I didn’t usually need to check in on a recap of a hike (on account of being there for most of them) but I still did. Usually I’d read it just to see what part of the hike stood out to him, or just to hear what he thought of it in general. We don’t usually talk about what we thought of the hike immediately after finishing it. Instead the car is usually filled with music, contemplative silence, or sarcasm. And both of us are entirely contented by that. We both seem to get the same wonderful catharsis when we’re on a hike. We go about it in slightly different ways (I move quickly but stop without hesitation to take a photograph, my father simply moves without halting more than a few seconds) but we both deeply enjoy it. It always feels like a (figurative and literal) breath of fresh air. Something about sinking deep into the green of the mountains and pulling back from the malls and motorways that usually seem to surround us is incredibly relaxing. Not only that, it also seems to be addictive, and I could not thank my father more for addicting me to it.
Happy Father’s-Day-Was-A-Few-Days-Ago Dad.
A few shots from our trip up Mt. Moriah: