Friday, October 28, 2016

Into the Woods: Wide Man Walking

300 Pound Man. 8 km. Wet, Mossy Rocks. What Could Go Wrong?

It started as a philosophical clash which led to a reluctant compromise.  "We never do anything," she said. "And?" said I.  "You're a goddam blob in serious danger of a heart attack and you need to get out," she said.  "That old chestnut?" I said.  "We can go out to dinner," I offered. "Can't you think of anything other than food and beer?" she prodded.  "Umm. No. So, there's something else?" quipped I. Then, 3 hours later, I'm slipping and sliding over wet rocks in the rain while hovering over a 100 meter drop to certain death.  I think I'd prefer the heart attack.

The Czech Republic is just brimming with nature.  All sorts of wondrous flora and fauna that I would have no problem watching on the telly—if we had one.  In lieu of an idiot box, I'll take my chances with total fucking ignorance on this point.  You see: I'm one of those city geeks who hates all forms of exercise, weeds, bugs, weather and, well, nature.  Yes, it's beautiful.  Oh, it's stunning.  But why in the hell would I need to BE in it to appreciate it?  Lots of pics on the Google.

But She Who Must Be Obeyed is a nature lover.  She loves to scamper and bounce over rocks like a goat on crack, while I prefer the simplicity and safety of drinking beer with a goat on the label in a quiet Czech pub.  She assured me that after we do the simple, leisurely walk through lovely nature, we would go to a village pub for goat beer and goat food.  And with that bribe and that lovely image of idyllic villagery, we set off.

The Road to Hell is Paved With Wet Moss and Leaves

After an hour of screeching convincing me that walking through a soggy forest on a rainy day is a perfectly reasonable idea, we arrived at Mšeno, a village which is the gateway to Hell Cinibulkova Stezka. Stezka = trail, and Cinibulk = man who got fat from eating too many cinnamon rolls (maybe). They have a nice system of marking trails here.  Certain colors and shapes define where the trail begins, where is twists, where it turns, and naturally distracts you from the fact that you are the middle of nowhere rather than sipping beer in a pub like a proper man. This dude named Cinibulk wasn't a proper man.  He not only preferred nature to the lovely Czech pub, he set out to blaze a trail destined to be littered with the corpses of wide-bodied individuals like me.  He didn't just paint some yellow/white symbols on trees.  Nossir.  That would be EASY.  Instead, Cinibulk decided to carve steps into rocks leading up slippery slopes to views of, well, more rocks.  This was less of a trail and more of a training course for Navy Seals.  Or ninjas.  Add rain, fallen leaves, pine needles and moss to the rocky trail, and you have a perfect recipe for danger.  Or just a few hours of comical images of me flailing, grunting and falling on my ass on soggy rocks.

We're Not Out of the Woods Yet

Why do people do this? I can understand the love of nature (yuck) and the need for excercise (phooey), but why exert yourself in the woods in the middle of nowhere?  It's like that feckless fool who climbed a mountain 'because it was there.'  I'm trying to understand the philosophy of the nature lover and the sportsman.  Something about nature being a reminder of our origins, and the risk, struggle and adrenaline of the trail being a metaphor for human existance, maybe?  Bollox.  I don't need actual struggle to remind me of life's existential struggle.  That's like saying, 'I don't understand the struggle of my city life.  Let's go risk our lives climbing something to help us embrace the struggle.'    There's a word for people like this.  That word is douchebag.

About two hours into the woods and we hit some actual danger.  I was at the peak of that rat bastard Cinibulk's dream trail when I hit a wall.  I could no longer haul my considerable bulk up the slippery rocks.  There was a 100 foot drop to the left of me and large, sloping boulders ahead of me.  I could no longer stand and walk the trail without actual risk of death.  I plunked my plump posterior down on the hard, wet slime and gave up.  I had to send goat girl ahead of me to scout the trail, snap pics of it, bring those back to me, and watch me yell HELL NO! while whimpering like a little bitch. Yup.  It's official.  My wife hates me.  Why else would she drag my lardy ass out into the woods and badger me up onto slippery rocks into clear and present danger?  She insists that she had no idea that it would be this bad.  And yet she took dozens of pics of me flailing on rocks like a drunken sea lion.  One person's hell is another's entertainment.  We like seeing people in pain.  Just look at the success of America's Funniest Home Videos.  60 minutes of men getting whacked in the nuts by a kid with a bat is apparently funny (for the men: not so much).  Or just look at all the rubberneckers who slow down to view traffic accidents.  We are sick, I tell you.

Hallelujah!  Homeward!

I made it home with only a small slice on my thumb and sore joints.  I did not get the promised balm of a meal in a cozy Czech pub.  My flailing and crawling ate up all the time before the last bus out of the village.  I did not complete the full trail.  After barely getting over the evil boulders—only to see another uphill struggle remaining, I officially put my foot down. In the mud. With a splat.  I decided to avail myself of my only remaining option: get the holy hell outta these damn woods.  I followed an unmarked trail against the continuous protest of my wife, who was certain I was only going to get us lost by leaving the trail.  I saw vehicle track marks on a muddy, grassy trail which led nowhere near rocks.  After 30 minutes I heard the reassuring sound of cars up in the distance.  Civilization!  Salvation! Pub!

We ended up sampling some stale beer in the first pub I set eyes upon.  A rocker dude in gray camouflage shorts and knee-length black socks served us reluctantly, after telling my wife not to play the piano in the corridor (Then why have one, you fucking douche?). I drank the stale beer, rested my wounded knees, and quietly thanked the wooden bench I sat upon.  We were out of the damn woods.

Don't Mess With Mother Nature. She'll Cut a Bitch.


Photos by Gabriela Sarževská


  1. I'm one who touts exercise in a safe gym. Or not at all, lol.

    No woodsy walks for me! I am glad you got back safely, and I had to laugh at Gabi playing the piano against the protests of the rocker dude.

    Funny story that could have turned scary!

    1. It was scary. The whole damn thing. ;) Yeah, I'm lucky Gabi was there to prod me on, otherwise, I'd probably still be there, slowly feeding whatever the hell that land lobster critter is in the video above. :o

      - Big Sir


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