A Hike in the Rain – 5 Miles of Bliss Away from 2nd-hand Smoke

Fall Hike color collage 10-26-15

The fresh air was exceptionally refreshing and the steady light rain added to the feeling of being cleansed and purified on all levels — body, mind and spirit, through every cell atom and molecule.  A bonus over the 5 mile hike was that the rain kept humans away–there wasn’t another soul throughout the whole trek.  There were only the sounds of my breath, the hiking poles and my feet against the earth,  squirrels scurrying about, the tapping of the rain against the leaves the whole time.  

I hiked through tunnels of red, yellow and orange leaves that acted like a natural umbrella keeping the trail beneath dry and only where there were a few breaks in the trees was the trail wet.  It was a cool day too (temperatures in the 50’s) and occasionally a cold wet drop of rain would hit my head.  I’d pretend it to be mother nature blowing me a kiss from above and smiled all the more when that happened.

Once I broke out in song feeling…

…safely alone and of course one tune was “Singing in the Rain”.  

witch of the northI needed that hike on that day!  And the truth is that I really didn’t want to leave the trail that day to return to my toxic apartment.  I’ve been having a helluva’ time with a new neighbor –a heavy smoker who is poisoning the air in and around my apartment and seems like a mean and nasty person to boot.  If I had to describe her mannerisms and speech it would be that of… well, she’s a double for the wicked witch of the north… “I’ll get you my little pretty and your little dog too!”   

I changed it up a bit, hiking the loop backwards from the end to the beginning avoiding the steeper last mile uphill challenge and it was very enjoyable.   I’d successfully hiked that last mile without stopping twice now (the last time in record time, shaving off a whole minute without even trying) so having had the upsetting time with the toxic neighbor, the decision to give myself a treat was a pretty easy one.

It was the thought of hot soup that enticed me into my car for the drive back.  I made that happen along with a hot grilled sandwich after I got home.  Perfection.  The older I get, the more the realization is apparent that we must really celebrate these kinds of moments.

I have contacted the State Alliance for Health and they will have someone from the Department of Public Health contact me soon.  I have not received any support from the apartment complex about my concerns which are valid.  The lady chain smokes about 10 feet from my window and it seeps it’s way into my apartment and the concern is, of course, carbon monoxide, not to mention about 100 other health compromising chemicals.  If there is carbon monoxide in a house or apartment, the fire department would tell you to quickly open a window!  Yet, in this case, the source of the carbon monoxide is just outside the window which is about as effective as something like spitting in the wind!!  

The wicked witch neighbor, when approached about the 2nd hand smoke issue, told me to shut my windows and if it is still coming into my apartment that I should go tell the office people to install new windows.  Further, she added, she is going to smoke as much as she wants as often as she wants!  Just a lovely lady.  

I have a small air purifier for which I ordered a new filter to the tune of $25+ dollars, and a face mask with a carbon filter which was over $30 and moved my desk to a part of the apartment which is the farthest away from where she smokes both out front and out back.  Not to mention that I’ve lost the use of my ability to enjoy my porch.  I’ve sealed up my air vents and am going today to purchase a carbon monoxide detector/alarm which is costing around $28.   

I am most concerned for the neighbor on the other side of the smoker.  She’s elderly and doesn’t leave her apartment.   I can and do go outside to get away from the 2nd hand smoke but maybe she can’t.   And so I’m going to advocate for a solution for the others too.  (It should be noted that when I go outside to get away from it, I have to walk far away from the building to do so.  The air is saturated with smoke that hangs in the air.) 

Well, now you see why I particularly enjoyed my last hike more than any other.  You might suggest that I move but I love my apartment and prefer to take my chances fighting for my right for clean air, not only for myself but the neighbor on the other side of the chain smoker.  I’m not sure how this will end but I’m hoping that this smoker will either start caring about her health or that the landlords arrange to move to a different unit which will only affect some other neighbor–that’s more spitting in the wind!

I suppose there are hazards in life no matter where you go or what you do, but this one is really close to home, pardon the pun!  

On another topic my knee really bothered me during the last hike in the last half mile and it’s a concern.  On days when the knee has been rested the day before (no spin bike workout) and further when I suspect the body has just the right amount of ibuprofen in place, there’s no discomfort.  

I’m not sure if I can simply push through it on a longer hike or if it would keep me from continuing.  My daughter and I have yet to try the 9 mile hike together. She suggested this weekend.  We will see how the weather is and if the trail is open.  Sometimes it gets closed down because of recent rain… and we had plenty of that yesterday!  I smiled inside in the midst of the downpour yesterday feeling extremely grateful I’d had the wisdom to get the hike in the day before.

I’ve been stressed out about the smoker lady trying to figure out how to protect the physical body and feeling bad about myself for having such angry thoughts toward the lady who is obviously severely addicted.  I find it difficult to feel compassion, yet I’ve had moments when my heart went out to her.  I notice she doesn’t go anywhere for very long; the longest I’ve seen her leave her apartment for is 20 minutes.  She walks little steps to the dumpster with a cigarette hanging from her mouth and when she gets in her car, same thing… which leads a person to feel pity for such a need.  Well, enough said.  

The photo above was enhanced a bit to show the colors as they did exist on that dark and rainy day.  I took those on my way out of the area near the trail head.   

Joy Hike 10-27-15The photo of me to the left was taken about 3 miles in where I’d just past a section of the trail along the lake where I saw a single solitary fisherman on his boat, also alone with his thoughts and nature.

 I sent him a telepathic hello … another kindred soul perhaps who was also enjoy the quiet of the day. 

Oh, the T-shirt I’m wearing reads,

“I came, I saw, I hiked The Canyon”–The Grand Canyon.  And I did!  


One thought on “A Hike in the Rain – 5 Miles of Bliss Away from 2nd-hand Smoke

  1. Stop by your local barber shop and then the pet groomers. “Volunteer to dispose of all of heir clippings, free of charge. Wait until the human chimney steps out and then join her with your sturdy, fireproof container of burning hair, Be sure to judge the wind direction so that she enjoys the maximum amount of the fragrant smoke from your new habit of praying to the hair gods and offering a sacrifice for their good grace. I’m sure she will not object.


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