2. Drink lots of water. Water is nearly always the answer.
3. If you start to fall, turn it into a slide. It hurts less and looks cooler.
4. Remember: Up is hard, down is frightening, level terrain that never changes is easy and a nice break…but dull.
5. Never hike alone. Except…do. Do hike alone. Definitely hike alone. Yes, it is risky, but life is risky. It’s risky to get out of bed in the morning, drive a car, boil water for tea, love someone. Life is full of risks. This is one you should take.
6. Tell someone your hike plan. Except, sometimes don’t. Sometimes do things just for you, not because you need to tell the world about it. Go for a hike and then don’t update your Facebook status, tweet, write a review on Yelp, and for god's sake, please do not blog about it and some nonsense of how hiking is like life….This can also be risky (see #5).
7. Bring snacks. Snacks are the best.
8. Read Mary Oliver. Maybe not while you're hiking--seems dangerous. Maybe sit on a fallen tree trunk or large rock first and then...read Mary Oliver.
9. Don’t worry about the serious hikers. When you see them coming, just say to yourself—Serious hiker alert! and then move to the side to let them pass. Yes, they’ll get there faster than you, but you will have heard more birds sing, smelled more raindrops on leaves, felt more wind on your face, fallen more, and have more blisters.
10. Have a map, but only let it be your guide. Have a plan, but sometimes veer from it.
11. Don’t worry about the way you look—sweaty, red-faced, muddy—nothing like those women in the Eddie Bauer catalog. You look truly god-awful, who gives a crap.
12. When you get to the top of the mountain, panting, gasping for breath, clinging to tree limbs to pull you up and you see a little old lady up there chatting away happily in rapid-fire Japanese and you think to yourself—How the hell did she get up here? Remind yourself: You are a wimp.