The text messages start flying first thing in the morning – “meet u at lower parking lot” “don’t forget water” “leaving now, see u soon” I wonder how my friends manage to find the time to send texts (with emoticons even!) while I’m frantically slugging coffee and slapping together turkey sandwiches with extra mustard. I must ask them their secret to calm mornings once we’re on the trail.
With the simple slide of a minivan door and a quick “love you, have a great day,” I can slip out of mom mode into friend mode, if only for an intense hour of hill climbing.
We start hiking and settle into easy conversation, bouncing between topics and enjoying the ability to drop an f-bomb without having to put a dollar into the swear jar. Parenting experts tell us that kids are most willing to share feelings when they’re riding in a car – something about lack of direct eye contact, if I remember correctly. I think the same theory applies to exercising with friends. The only other thing that comes close to fostering such banter is a bottle or two of wine, which might be frowned upon at 8:30 in the morning.
I finish the hike with heavy legs but a light heart and start mentally flipping through the pages of my calendar, looking for my next available morning to schedule some freedom in the hills.