My sub-branch of the Smith family is clearly from way out West because while so many others were doing civilized things–golfing, sitting by the pool, sleeping off the night before–we found ourselves doing this.
There was a sweet little trail leading to a waterfall of minute proportions but it dead ended into a stream. Those of us from out West, however, are undaunted by water and we detected extreme hints of trail on the other side of the stream. There was only one answer for it. Shoes off. Feet wet. Go forth.
Now, hiking boots are an important part of one’s wardrobe but all that time they’re protecting your feet from things like sharp rocks and cold water and mud (and leaches) they’re preventing you from full connecting with the world and all its intricate details. You miss out on experiences like practicing squeaky forms of Lamaze breathing to bear the bone numbing cold of the stream. Or sinking ankle-deep in a mud puddle and willing your mind not to make guesses at what might comprise the hidden lumps beneath your feet (horse dung? the decaying bits of small animals or missing hikers? giant toe sucking leeches?). Or the forever summer feeling of trying to small, inordinately sharp stones repeatedly nestling into the same tender spot in the arch of your foot.
There is, however, nothing like squeezing mud between your toes to wake up your inner seven-year-old. That alone is worth the rocks.