My husband's friend recently became obsessed with mountain biking, a pastime that involves riding an expensive bicycle aggressively through the woods at literally breakneck speeds. I take it from his descriptions that the object of the game is to fall frequently and hard -- the more bumps and blood, the better. Maybe it's the feel of the wind in his thinning hair or maybe it's just the high dopamine-to-contusion ratio, but I just don't get the appeal.
My sport of choice is set on a similar stage but until one recent day it was much less dramatic. I was about four miles into my daily hike with my dog Arlo in a local, bucolic state park. A large and relatively undiscovered refuge, it's not unusual to traverse miles without spying another human being. But on this particular excursion, having not seen one person in the hour since crossing the trailhead, I came to the conclusion I was about to be murdered. My perpetrator was a man who'd suddenly appeared ahead of me on the trail. I was sure I'd seen him earlier in the parking lot. Had he followed me?