Far be it from us men to kick another male when he is down for the count, but South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford needs a collective boot from his brothers. Not only did he break the code of silence about secret relationships, but he actually bragged about it and wrote sappy e-mails to his soul mate. Okay, that was a heat of passion mistake, but he has now gone too far: he has ruined hiking for every man in America.
That’s right, a small but growing number of men actually walk long distances with little food or water in the American heartland to clear our heads, harden our feet, and renew our appreciation for the luxury of a hot shower, clean bed, and the remote possibility of a back rub. Not all of us zip off to exotic locations to relive our teen years by imagining that a perfect “ten” has a genuine interest in us. No, we trudge through, over, and under brush, snakes, rocks, searing sun, blowing cold snow, and torrential rains. Now all that fun is gone.
Just try telling your bride that you want to hike for a day or two (don’t dare say you are going on the Appalachian Trail, it has become synonymous with swarping), and then duck your head. Even a day hike will raise suspicions if you shave and put on clean underwear before you leave the house at 4:00 a.m. You best be home before dark too, preferably with a broken limb or snake-bitten thigh. The more you suffered, the better are your chances of being believed and getting that back rub.
Hiking will never be the same. It is not like most men had it easy trying to get some quiet time as it is. Now, we will be “Sanfordized” each time we mention hiking, walking, strolling, or ambling. Apologies from us on national TV (or YouTube) will be the rule, not the exception. Let’s just be glad the teary-eyed governor didn’t claim he was going ginwhacking; at least we still have that.