Out of all the people you will see on a hike most of them will fit into the following four categories, these are the 4 people you’ll see on a hike.
- The First Timer
Wearing flip flops on a mountain? Nobody could be as underprepared as the First Timer. We were all there once, when we thought a hike meant walking up a steep street to go to the grocery store. The First Timer is admirable in their ignorance, a reminder to us all that we aren’t as experienced and all-knowing as we think we are. We think that everyone knows their hiking shoes should be molded to their feet and that we should carry trail maps, but only because we were a First Timer who learned. First Timers are someone you’ll see on a hike every time you go, and that’s a good thing. Without First Timers trails would go unwalked and reclaimed by nature. So next time you see a First Timer give them some encouragement and a tip, it’ll go a long way.
- The Pro
If calves could speak, The Pro’s would sound like Morgan Freeman. They’ve climbed so many hills they are starting to become one. They’re growing a beard like a mountain man and can somehow yodel like a true Bavarian. This wise sage can tell you the best way to navigate a treacherous route just as easy as the best berries to eat on the trail to cure a stomach-ache. The Pro is the best person to make friends with because they are always down to tear up a trail and can help you when you’re down. Next time you see The Pro on a hike, try your best to get in their good graces.
- The Gearhead
Water bottle belt. Aerodynamic visor and shorts. Moisture-wicking tanktop. Their body is being cooled by an adamantium core so that they can continue to climb 27-degree inclines for days, if not weeks, at a time. They are breathing heavily, but that is only to signal for you to get out of the way. The only way you can tell The Gearhead is not a robot is that they like to brag about the equipment they have on and the advantages they have (let’s hope that robots don’t know how to brag). The Gearhead is a great person to see on the trail because they are guaranteed to have anything you are looking for. Water? Check. High protein energy bars? Check. A batman-esque utility belt with everything from water spritzers to a grappling hook? Check. The Gearhead is the best person to see because in showing off their gear they’ll let you try it on for a test run and you can reap the rewards of futuristic technology. Maybe they’ll even let you have some of their old gear, so next time you see them you see them on a hike try your best to score a protein bar (or 3) off of them.
- The Definitely Shouldn’t be Here
The immediacy of their facial expression is a dead giveaway. Get me out of here, you can see in their eyes. They are probably a friend of The Pro or The Gearhead who got roped into a hike because they mentioned in passing their summer trip to Argentina. “Argentina? They’ve got plenty of mountains down there in Patagonia, this’ll be a breeze,” The Pro says to them at the water cooler. Not wanting to tell The Pro that they only went for vineyard tours, the Definitely Shouldn’t Be Here agrees to the hike out of guilt. The Definitely Shouldn’t Be Here needs your help on the trail, give them a sip of water or a minute of conversation. That momentary escape from their closest experience to Purgatory on Earth will help the Definitely Shouldn’t Be Here more than you could ever know.
Embrace these four archetypes of hiking, they can be your best friends and allies, make friends and they can be your greatest asset on and off the trail.