This is the first summer in 30 years that I have not hiked on the Appalachian Trail. The reasons are numerous. The main reason is that my hiking buddies have given up on me. Now that I have gotten older, I am a lot slower and am unable to keep up with these dynamos. So I guess I need to rethink this issue. Perhaps find a partner who hikes at the same pace as I do (assuming someone that slow exists). At any rate, I will return to the trail next summer even if I have to go by myself. In fact, that is probably the safest mode of travel these days. But I do miss my hiking buddies of 29 years. I hiked as fast as I could. Honest. —Later…M.