My boyfriend and I love to hike. In fact, if I could name the top three things that we do together most often, the list would read: 1) cook 2) hike and 3) get in fights about directions while hiking. (Relationships are fun, kids.) I digress. We live right below Griffith Park in Los Feliz, so as far as where to get in these super fun hike fights goes, we have some pretty standard Los Angeles options at our fingertips. But a few times a month we like to find a hiking trail that’s a little more obscure, a little more secluded, to get into our hike fights. Because as someone famous once said, in something that I cannot remember: “Variety is the spice of life.”
This leads me to storytime! A few weeks ago we were revisiting one of our favorite trails in the Angeles National Forest. We both remember this hike, not for its scenic views, or it’s pristine waterfall, but for how much we ended up hating each other the first time that we wandered down this trail a few years ago. Seriously. It was bad. Like, if hike fights had levels, the one that occurred on this particular trail would have been a 10/10, 5 stars, “new level achieved”, hike fight. And one that I maintain could have been completely avoided if, say, the trees in the Angeles National Forest had WiFi hotspots like this.
My boyfriend and I are very different people. Where he likes to plan, I like to wing it. Where he is an insistent leader, I think it would be really great if someone else mapped out the day and I just showed up with a bottle of wine. And as far as the history of our hikes go, he chooses them, and he leads the way. That is, until this infamous hike day, two years ago, when our relationship almost ended, because for the first time since I met this man: I. Chose. The hike.
I chose the hike because I was ready to be a leader! I chose the hike because I wanted to change it up! But I chose the hike and did not realize the responsibility that came with it. And that is the responsibility of vetting and figuring out, even a little tiny bit, where you are supposed to be going, and how to get there. Seems like a basic step in the right direction (pun intended) now, but at the time, I thought you could just show up and that there would be clear signs and possibly a nice cooler of cold water. I have since learned that this is not the case.
So anyway fast-forward and it’s the day of the great hike fight of 2019 and we’re driving up through the Angeles National Forest and he says to me: “You know where we’re going right?” And I point to my map app on my phone and I say “Uh…yeah!” And he says “No but like on the hike. You know…where to go…right? Because if you don’t we’re gonna lose service and we should probably pull over and figure that out.” And this is where I got mad. “Who does this guy think he is?” I thought. “Do I know where I’m going? Rude!” Of course I knew where I was going!
…except the thing was that I 100% did not know where I was going. Not even a little. I didn’t know what the trail head looked like, I didn’t know where to park, I didn’t know if we were looking for a high trail, a low trail, a stream bed, a ridge….I had nothin’. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t admit it. Not now. It was too late. We were so close and we had already lost service and I chose the hike and I was in charge and I was certain it would be fine. We were two intelligent adults. Certainly we could figure it out.
But cut to two hours later, and as we stood lost, on a hot dusty trail to nowhere in the middle of a National Forest, with no directions and no cell phone service to get them, on an unintentional 7 mile hike where I insisted that I “didn’t need my own water bottle”… it was clear that we most certainly could not figure it out. And the level 10 hike fight ensued. And we hated each other more than I’ve ever hated anyone ever. And it was all my fault. Because I said I knew where I was going when I totally didn’t. And I didn’t get directions when I had the chance. But also…? It was my cell phone company’s fault because oh my god how is it the year 2020 where we have WiFi while flying through the air at lightning speed but we still lose cell service in the forest?? This is why trees should have WiFi. I’m not really a “tech person” but this thing is handy. And will perhaps save your relationship.