Whether you’re a day hiker or a multi-day hiker, you can probably relate to a few of these points. Let me know how many in the comments, and add any more that come to mind!
10 Truths about Hikers
10. We’re not bored.
Some treat hiking as glorified walking. A hike isn’t a walk. It’s a trek into the wild, an unseen place that isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) accessible by road. We are excited for the views, the sense of freedom, the chance to chat with like-minded people or be alone in our thoughts. We choose our hikes based on a desire to be in the outdoors, to experience the landscape. If boredom or tedium sets in, just remind yourself of where you are and the freedom you have, that usually does the trick.
9. We collect hikes like alpinists collect peaks.
We do it for the sport, yes, but something happens when you become a regular hiker. You can’t pass up a good trail, even if your whole trip becomes based around it. You want the experience, you want the photographs, you want to know that you made the effort while you were passing through. If you don’t, it just feels unfinished. That’s why…
8. The trip-planning process always considers what good trails are around.
No matter where we travel, it comes back to this: where are the best routes? Would you go to Thailand and not try Thai food? Would you go to Peru and not trek to Macchu Picchu? Planning a multi-day trek is part of the fun in itself.
7. A crowded or highly manicured path is not a hike–it’s a walk.
Maybe this is a personal thing, but a truly satisfying hike is not one surrounded by crowds along a path that is made to be easy. The solitude and the roughness is what makes it an experience and a feat.
6. OK, we need the photos.
We want to experience the journey first hand, it’s true. We don’t want to see the environment through a lens, and we don’t want to interrupt a moment with the struggle to whip out the camera. But, we want the photos. As much as the moment feels endless, someday those photos will be what brings it all back to us. So, as much as we appreciate the rawness of it all, we’ve still got a camera in our bags, and we will be using it.
5. We’re a little competitive.
Some more than others. There’s this compulsion to keep up, to display your agility and endurance. No one wants to be the person slowing everyone down. So, we train and do our best to keep in decent shape. Some of us prefer to hike alone or in pairs so the pressure to keep up the pace is not there. Who likes the pressure of having to be “on” the whole time?
4. We’re not fearless.
We all have our fears and phobias. Maybe it’s a fear of being stranded, being attacked by a bear, bitten by a snake, injuries, the dark, spiders? Whatever the fear, we just don’t let it be a deciding factor. I’ve eaten lunch while looking over my shoulder for bears and pumas, and I’ll admit I’m the antithesis of fearless, but I do it anyway. Mostly, because I know the chances are fairly remote, but also because I know that “a life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”
3. If the opportunity presents itself, we will skinny dip.
It’s a hot, dry day and your legs are caked in dirt, dust, and sweat. You’ve been on the trail for a couple of days when you come to a quiet pond, slightly to the east and partially sheltered from the main trail. The water is clean and clear and cool. There’s no one around, you haven’t seen anyone the entire time. What are you going to do? You’re going to get in that water. Yes, you’ll leave a towel on the edge so you can run for it if someone does come by, but you’re getting in. At least, I am. Let’s be honest.
2. We’re always looking to push it further.
A day hike, 2 days, a week, a month or three–we are always looking for something longer, harder, more remote. There’s this addiction to what a period of time in the middle of nowhere does for your mind and body. It’s an adventure and a detox, a pure kind of enjoyment that has a multitude of rewards.
1. We’re looking forward to the celebration afterward.
Part of the fun of a long hike or trek is the knowledge that you will have earned that huge feast, the extra beer, the long bubble bath. Whatever the reward, you have to admit that you’re thinking of it, at least briefly, when you set out.
Can you relate to any of these? Let me know and suggest more below!