The Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Will Bailey
We’re lost. I knew we took a wrong turn back at the tree that looked like Richard Dreyfus! Or was it the rock that looked like Fred Gwynne? Look out! A chipmunk! Man, this hiking stuff is not easy. I thought it was going to be rainbows and butterflies and talking woodland creatures that knead cinnamon bread with their hooves. Instead, it’s keeping your eyes peeled for tiny trail markings, trying not to trip on rocks and roots, and convincing yourself that the odds of a chainsaw murderer popping out from behind the oak tree up ahead are slim to none (it’s that slim part that always freaks me out). What’s worse: is there anything more awkward than turning a corner in the middle of a narrow forest trail and running into a fellow hiker? I mean, it’s not like you’re on a city sidewalk, surrounded by hundreds of people, and can easily slide past a total stranger without saying hello. But in The Woods – the New York City of trees, giant spiders, and idiot filmmakers pretending they’re being hunted by a witch – you almost feel obligated to grab the fellow hiker by the shoulders, look them in the eyes, and say something weird and existential, like, “This is me, and this is you, and we are brother and sister in the family of man. I love you.” Luckily, Wife isn’t as unhinged as I am, and usually manages a friendly “Hello” for both of us. Besides, I’m too worried about a chainsaw murderer and/or chipmunk attack. Can you imagine? You’ve already been cornered by a psychopath, and then a chipmunk joins in! Talk about adding insult to injury!