My version of it, anyway. Which tends to be rather more exhausting than a lot of other folk's definition of "rest."
It's a gazillion degrees and humid, which of course means it's time to hike on the Appalachian Trail. In jeans, because it's poison ivy season. (Note to self - that stretch of trail is well maintained. Shorts next time.) I ran late but finally got up to the Keyes Gap parking lot. Older fellow in lot with stuff torn out of his car. Huh. Awareness ping. Sense of discomfort and the thought "This is why I carry when I'm up here."
Yeah, it's hot and humid. One of my favorite John Stewart songs starts "She was never a summer child." I, on the other hand, am. This is my season, a season of sun-burned shoulders and sweat stung eyes. Of biking and hiking and, now, whenever possible, the rivers. Of days of activity ended in a somnolent haze on the front porch as the heat stunned life around waits for the sun to begin to set and something vaguely resembling coolness to return.
It was a lovely day on the trail. So much rain - and so much bountiful green, so many beautiful fungi because of it. I took pictures to share - ferns, flowers, a toad, sun dapple in a glade. My phone saved exactly one. Which I can't seem to get to. Sigh. I was using a new app called Map My Ride. The phone battery will last 3 hours running it - just enough to confirm 6 miles and then a low battery warning beep. Plenty of other people out, so pauses and chats. A beagle who really, really, REALLY wanted to share my snack bar despite getting scolded by his owner for bad manners. And one couple I passed on the trail asked if I had noticed the guy in the parking lot - he had behaved oddly, they thought. Hmm.
I'm still way too heavy and way too out of shape - working on it but it'll take time. I have to watch myself in the heat, too, because I'll push too far and then realize I'm feeling the warning signs of incipient heat exhaustion and it's time to sit down for a while. And not in that lovely sunny spot, either. In the shade. It was a stumbly trip back at times because I asked a lot of my legs all at once, and I forgot my walking stick. And there's that blister that came up on the ball of my right foot. (Second note to self - find that little thing of talcum powder before doing that again.) But even if I'm still tired tomorrow I can do lighter work. Like mowing the lawn. All that rain. All that warmth. The lawn really needs mowing.
I crossed into the parking lot - it was full of vehicles. But, other than me, there's just the sketchy guy and one other, younger woman, who was just coming off the trail from the other direction. I rolled down the windows. As I backed up the guy walked up to her and asked for a battery jump.
And as I'm turning and heading for home my mind was processing: Guy has been there for hours. All sorts of other hikers out here - lots of other cars in the lot since I left. Lots of other options for jumps, mostly men and couples. I had met them coming south as I was heading back north. And two women come into the parking lot at the same time, one openly carrying and the other not and he asks for a jump from the one not carrying as the other leaves. Robot from "Lost in Space" started yelling "Danger! Danger! Danger!" I pulled off, called the police, then headed back to put another person in the lot. Only to see him in his car, which was running, pulled to the side. And the lot full of young men, backpackers, just coming off the trail, the other woman gone.
Maybe he's just odd. Maybe I'm just paranoid. But my instincts were screaming "WRONG!" louder than I've ever experienced, and I hope a deputy passed through in time to make it clear to the guy that somebody noticed him.