After slugging around for a while, though, I figured I'd go back, get another set of the right-size boxes, and from there do a small hike. I parked in the Staples parking lot, bought the boxes, put them in the car, then headed off on foot with my backpack. I walked to Meadow Park and beyond, to the start of the South Street Hills open space area. I hiked up there, got to a ridge line in about fifteen minutes. Very cool to be able to do this.
A man was walking his dog in the area and he came up the hill behind me. I said hi and we got to talking. He's 42, disability retirement from the army (military police), overweight but obviously working on it (he hikes these hills three days a week, runs other days), loves animals. His name is James, his dog's name is Sadie. We talked a while about hiking and living here and he seems a nice enough chap. We decided we might do some hikes together. He has hiked all over the area, knows it very well. So I got his name & phone number.
From that high point I found my way down a different path and out through Stoneridge, which is very close to Staples at the bottom. My parking there was fortuitous. I'd say the time I spent on the hike from start to finish was only about an hour, but it was enough, especially for a weekday move. It was nice to be talking to someone at last. Gives me hope. Perhaps I am not entirely unapproachable.