You say “Hill,” I say “freakin’ Mountain”

July 24, 2012

in I Learn the Lessons So You Don't Have To, OldSchool, Running In Place

I’m a bit of a word freak. Grammar runs through my veins like bacon grease down a pig farmer’s chin. While most people find the English language to be a nightmarish tangle of rules, exceptions, and phonetic-defying crimes against the human tongue, I can’t imagine communicating in any other way.

Which may explain my barely passing entry-level German. Twice.

So when someone tells me we’re going to hike a hill, I generally take them at their word. Sure, I may find it highly amusing that they chose to put “we” and “hike” in the same sentence, but if that’s what they said, then that must be what they meant.

Which, according to, roughly translates into the idea that the speaker will be leisurely strolling up to the top of a “a natural elevation of the earth’s surface, smaller than a mountain,” and enjoying the view for the two hours it takes me to empty my emergency inhaler on my own trudge up that “small mound of earth.”

Good times for all!

So when my cousins suggested I might enjoy hiking Hadley Hill with them, I politely laughed in their faces. Until they told me there’d be blueberries at the top.

They get me.

And ice cream at the bottom.

They really, really get me.

So I put on my new, cute, white tennis shoes and my outdoor hat and set off for a leisurely stroll up Hadley Hill.

This was my first clue that, perhaps, my cousins had employed a bit of an…artistic license…with their choice of words:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation isn’t known for their witty word play…

Unfortunately, I have a bit of a reputation in the family for not being an outdoors girl. Don’t know where they got that idea from. So by the time I’d fully absorbed the meaning of the word mountain, “a natural elevation of the earth’s surface rising more or lessabruptly to a summit, and attaining an altitude greater thanthat of a hill, usually greater than 2000 feet,” Keefe had absconded with the car keys and was blithely charging the trail with all the speed and agility of a herd of mountain goats.

Of course, I mean “trail” in the loosest possible sense.

One might also be correct in calling them dry river beds. Except for the dry part.

 But I am nothing if not resilient stubborn. And hungry. Which meant I had to get up the hill if I wanted any blueberries. And back down again if I wanted any ice cream. Which may not seem like that much of an enticement. Except the blueberries were of the small, wild variety. And the ice cream came with unlimited toppings.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for unlimited maraschino cherries.

So, up the hill mountain I went. Slowly but surely, like the little engine that could, dragging my caboose up every twist, turn, and fallen tree trunk I could find. It must have taken me a good four hours or so. I’m not entirely sure, as it got a little hazy after we asked a passing couple how much farther and they pointed to a near by turn in the “trail” and told us that when we reached that, we’d be half way. And then scampered on up ahead to catch up with their toddlers.

But. Just as I was trying to decide if it would be better to stop and wait for the paramedics, or just roll myself down the mountainside and meet them at the bottom, the tree line cleared, and the most gorgeous park ranger I have ever laid eyes on welcomed me to the summit.

And after that? Let’s just it all went downhill from there…


Kathy July 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Funny, I just went up that hill, I mean mountain today! It was a beauttiful day. But I missed out on the park ranger;)

Ellen July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am

For starters, this is hilarious and I can practically hear you reading it out loud. So that is a compliment to the way it was written. Also, I’m impressed you hiked Hadley, and I love the pics. And the park ranger working there this summer? So beyond cute. Love this post!

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