Checking into hotels late at night always feels strange. But Ben, who travels for business is used to short stays after long drives. Get in a few hours sleep, go to a meeting in the morning, and get back on the road as soon as possible. Maybe go for a walk if you have some time. Hope that things don’t get too weird.
Ben’s unlucky on this trip though. He finds a path behind his hotel and sets off for quick hike. Soon he meets up with a pair of killers wearing dog masks. Then a woman gives him a bag of magic beans. Then he has to fight a giant grasshopper. Then he meets a talking crab, a giantess, some skinless zombies, a winged demon, some kind of Spanish conquistador, and a bunch of dreamy hallucinations from his past. Surely everything will be alright as long as Ben stays on the path.
Like the vintage role playing games that partially inspired it The Hike is a puzzle. Every step Ben takes along the path offers clues for him to use and for the reader to put together. I’m still not sure if I really figured it all out. I suspect the book is a parable about wasting time. Don’t spend hours playing video games when you could spend them with your loved ones. That’s my take anyway. Maybe you’ll come away with a different interpretation. Just remember, things are going to get weird.