So, You’re New to Hiking: This Is What You Need To Know About Hikers

We all know that hiking is good for us, but if you’re new to hiking, it can be quite daunting.  Everyone seems to have an opinion, giving you information overload.

One of the best ways to start is to find like-minded people; find your tribe. 

After much extensive and exhaustive research*, it has been found, there are actually seven tribes of hikers.

Which one do you belong to? 

HARDCORE HEROES 

You go to bed at the same time as the children and set your alarm for what the average person calls ‘the middle of the night’.  It’s important to be up before the sun. 

For you, early morning exercise is crucial for a productive day. It’s the first job of the day and it’s got to be done right.

It’s easy, you meet before dawn all geared up, from the bloody expensive head torches down to your high-end footwear.  And you’re off.

You have seen more sunrises than most people have hot dinners, but no time to stop and enjoy it, you are out to exercise. You are a driven person.

After your trek/run/ride you return home and are showered, dressed and casually scanning your mobile, sipping on a latte as other members of the household shuffle into the kitchen yawning, scratching their heads trying to work out which day of the week it is.

 
Well done to the Hardcore Hikers. Total respect!

This group can be intimidating to those of us who are new to hiking, but there are other types if this isn’t your tribe.

TALKING TREKKERS

You are out for both physical and social exercise.

Once you meet up with your hiking buddies, it’s a quick G’day followed by, ‘You’ll never guess who I bumped into in the supermarket the other day . . .’ And you’re off.

It is important that you use the same well-worn track that you can follow without thought, map or guidance otherwise you are going to get completely lost.

You maintain a constant pace as the conversation flows.

The hike ends something like this, ‘Then after I said that to him, do you know what he . . . oh, we’re back at the car park already, did that really take two hours? Ok, gotta go, I’ll tell you the rest of the story next time. Bye.’

The hike is over.

 
Well done to the Talkers, we respect your equally strong lungs and legs!

If you are new to hiking, you’ll find this is generally a gender-specific group, I don’t think I need to tell you which gender!

TAX RETURN RAMBLERS

I love doing my tax return. Said no one ever.

You take to completing a walk with the same enthusiasm as doing a tax return. Your friend makes the arrangements weeks in advance, you re-schedule several times before running out of excuses.  You know you have to get it done before the deadline friendship is over.

The time has come, you find your exercise gear at the back of the wardrobe, dust off the shoes and meet at the allotted time and location.

Whilst on the walk, you try your best not to whinge and whine, but you do question every turn, ensuring you aren’t being duped into walking more than you agreed to. Then as the end is in sight, you begin to relax, you know you are nearly done, you start to take photos, you are feeling good about yourself. You nod your head to yourself as you take in your surroundings, thinking ‘I am out, I am exercising, I am actually doing this’.

Once finished you feel so virtuous, so self-righteous. You post your photos on social media and get loads of likes and comments; the validation you were looking for. You. Done. Good.

 
Well done tax time trekkers, we respect that you get it done. In the end!

If you’re new to hiking, you may already be guilty of this behaviour.  Focus on the last half of the walk and build from there.

LONE WOLF WALKERS

You do not want company, unless it’s the dog.

This hike is for you and just you, this is your escape from life. You can find solutions to the world’s problems and maybe get some insight into your own as you go

You want to be at one with nature – with your clothes on – but perhaps you would like to whip them off, if you knew you weren’t going to get caught.  If it was warm and sunny, and you weren’t in danger of being stung or bitten, and you didn’t have any saggy bits you weren’t happy about. In fact, if you looked like Elle McPherson or Chris Hemsworth you WOULD whip your clothes off and be at one with nature (as long as you didn’t get caught).

You are adventurous, you know roughly where you are going, but don’t mind trying new tracks. You don’t feel the need to talk to anyone on the hike or to tell anyone about it afterwards. This is your thing.

 
Well done lone wolves, we respect your need for solitude.

If you’re new to hiking this might be exactly what you need.  If you know a track that you’ve done with others first, why not give this option a go.

DINE-OUT DAWDLERS

You consider yourself as a hiker. You once walked around (insert name here) National Park.

You did it once, you surprised yourself, you’d even go so far to say you enjoyed it.

So when friends say, come for a walk with us, you can answer with, ‘I won’t this time, but maybe next time, I do enjoy going on walks, I did (insert name here) National Park not so long ago. Don’t think I’m not coming because I don’t want to, I can do it, I did it before. Maybe next time.’

You dine-out on the time you did (insert name here) National Park.  You even posted photos on social media to prove it.  However, you forget that the walk ‘not so long ago’ was, in fact, three years ago. And that you haven’t been on a walk since.

 
Well done dine-out hikers, we respect your love of (insert name here) National Park!

If you’re new to hiking, which technically the dine-out dawdlers are, and this is you, you enjoyed it once, you can do it again.

NERVOUS NEWBIES

There’s been so much health advice banded around, you know this hiking thing is meant to be good for you.

You’ve done the research, you’ve seen there are local hiking groups in your area.  You may even have joined a Facebook Group, but you haven’t actually joined a hike. Yet. 

There are so many questions going through your mind; am I fit enough?  What do I wear? Will I fit in? How hard are the walks? What if I don’t like it?  Arghh, then you have over-thought it and decide it’s easier to do nothing! 

Until one day you brave it.  You either drag a friend along for ‘comfort’ or you bravely skulk up to the group almost apologetically and nod hello to the nearest person.  Before you know it someone is talking to you, asking you questions, you ask them questions, and the conversation flows.  That was easy.

Then you’re off and you’re talking to someone else. You talk about work, people you may know in common, how nervous you were, how nervous they were the first time and realise you have a lot in common with this person. They introduce you to the person in front and again a new conversation starts.  

Then the first hill hits, you are relieved when a couple of people stop to catch their breath, you do likewise, purely to keep them company, of course. 

You discover that hiking is really just walking in nature and although the hills are challenging there is an end.  When you reach the top (or bottom) you have been challenged, but it’s the determination that’s going to get you there.

Before you know it the walk is over, you made friends, you weren’t the oldest/youngest/most unfit and if you were, it didn’t matter.  You laughed, you got out in nature; you survived!

 
Well done nervous newbies, we respect you getting out of your comfort zone.

If you’re new to hiking you will find people from your tribe within a group.  All you have to do is give it a go!

BELL CURVE BOUNDARIES

We all fall within a bell curve, but you pride yourself for being at the edge.

It doesn’t matter which edge, it might be the far edge along with other super-fit, super-fast, super-sporty people who find hiking too lame.  There’s not enough adrenalin pumping action, so you’ve never going to slow down and give it a go.

Or you’re the other end of the bell curve and you’re just not going to give any form of exercise a go.  It’s just not for you. 

 
Well done bell curve boundary keepers, we respect the fact you’ve read this article to this point!

If you’re new to hiking, we hope you don’t fall to the edge of the bell curve.  You’re missing out.

RESEARCH RESULTS

It doesn’t matter which tribe you belong to, I hope you get the chance and get out in nature and get walking (or running or riding). 

It’s good for your mind, body and soul!

 

 

*You know I didn't do any research, right, I just make this stuff up!
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4 Responses
  1. Great article Suzanne!

    Looks like I am Hardcore, haha! I definitely do like to exercise around sunrise but unfortunately don’t get out hiking as much as I’d like though!

    Thank you for do what you do 🙂

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