This is an account of one of my firsts hike as an adult, a climb of Mount Misery in 2006. Looking back seven years, there’s little I’d change in my description. I’d drop “extremely” when describing how rocky the trail was, and that’s it. I was about 275 pounds when I did this hike, having dropped 125 pounds over the previous year. The photo is from a 2008 hike on the same trail. It was taken at the abandoned spring house, and I was a few pounds lighter than I was in 2006.

“This afternoon, I climbed Mount Misery in Valley Forge National Park. It was 1:15 PM when I left the Neilmobile at Washington’s Headquarters, and I staggered back to my car at 3:30. During that time, I hiked up the side of Misery, arriving at the top by a little after 2:30. The trail was extremely rocky; last night, online, I stumbled across a description of Pennsylvania trails as “where boots go to die”, and I now know the
truth of that saying.

“While at the summit, I hiked a little bit along the Horseshoe Trail, and signed the trail register. I’m estimating that I walked about four miles today, much of it climbing.

“I still have a lot to learn about hiking. I didn’t bring enough water, for one. Also, I was far too heavily dressed for the unseasonably warm weather. Halfway up the side of Misery I stopped and removed my jacket and shirt. Fortunately, underneath I was wearing a T-shirt. So in addition to the beauties of nature, other hikers got to see the spectacle of a fat middle aged man with the phrase “I am the kid your parents warned you about” printed on his chest.”