Summer is upon us. School is out. Tourists are in full force and it’s that time of year when the trails pack to the brim. Fear not. I’ve created this little guide to help you mentally and physically prepare for what you’re about to encounter scaling peaks around the PN-Dub this summer. Good luck out there.
1. The Hardcore Hiker
You know ’em. You’re left pondering why they are carrying a 60 pound pack on a five mile hike. They have the latest and greatest REI gear top to bottom including bear spray, a solar-powered headlamp and a flare set…just in case. They may acknowledge your trail presence but could honestly care less. They are tackling the Pacific Crest Trail twice this year and have already been atop Rainier seven times.
Advice: Stay clear. Show respect. Move slowly when passing.
2. The Trail Runner
Full disclosure…this may be me. We pack light or nothing at all. We move brisk and are intentionally on the trail for a hard workout. We really don’t care about taking in the scene (at this moment) – we are taking in the scene in our own way. No complaining. Let us be and no scowling about the fact that we’re smoking your ass up the mountain.
Advice: Listen for fast footsteps behind you and move to the right side of the trail. This is key. No juke moves. I will run you over and not be sorry about the fact that you still managed to move left even after I said “on your left.” C’mon now. We learned this right/left thing…awhile ago, I hope.
3. The First Timer
I applaud these folks. They are complaining to their friend 100 feet into the trail but still out trying to enjoy nature. Complaints you will hear will include:
- “Gawwwwwd I hate nature, we neva do this stuff in New Yaaaawwwk.”
- “Eff me man. This suuuuuuucks. Should not have drank two fifths last night. But damnnn the club was hooooot.”
- “Why is there soooooo much mud on the trail? Ewww.”
Advice: Plug your ears and pass as fast as possible. Prepare for heckling along the lines of…”oh, look at thiiiissss guy….Mr. Hiker, pssshhh.”
4. The Family Outing
It will appear as if you’re part of some Oregon Trail game as a giant single file line ahead of you treks along at the pace of a snail. Even if you’re not a trail runner, learn to sprint fast when you get your gap.
Advice: Attempt to avoid knocking kids off ledges…they like to scurry around a trail like rats in a dark alley.
5. Mr. Nature
He’s decided that he does in fact need to bring along four different DSLR cameras for this particular hike. Ya never know. Expect the most joyous greeting from this individual and also be prepared to get into a 20 minute conversation about the weather, new types of plants he’s spotted and how he meticulously packed what is bound to be a ” gosh darn dandy of a lunch” at the top.
Advice: Embrace these guys. Literally, give them a hug. It will make their day and fill the void they no longer receive from watching Bob Ross paint friendly little trees.
6. Girls Club
You’ll know ’em cause you’ll hear ’em. Cackle, cackle, snicker, snicker…plus the random scream-laugh. You’ll be a quarter mile back and still be able to pick up on the latest gossip about Jenny and Joe, Ricky and Rachel and even why Sara is such a b*tch.
Advice: Nod, smile, head down, move on.
7. Unruly Dog Owner + Unruly Dog
For some reason , the word “leash” is not in this person’s vocabulary. They blindly assume that every single person on the trail loves dogs and also can’t wait to have Spike nip at your heels as you pass or jump all over your back with his muddy paws.
Advice: Acknowledge and ask if the pet store was out of leashes. Common courtesy people…and I love dogs.
8. The Mobile Concert
This is a recent addition to our mighty trails. Silence and nature be damned. These peeps can’t imagine being away from their tunes for a single moment. They also don’t believe in headphones and want to make sure that you also get to enjoy their crappy Top 25 mainstream hits blaring from their beat up 1993 Jansport backpack. Thank you Jambox.
Advice: Grind riiiiiggggghhhhtttt up on ’em. Let ’em know that if they’re going to bring the party, a party it will be.
9. Jeans Dude
What happened here? Did you forget that you were going to a trail to hike? I’m confused.
Advice: Ask him if he at least considered chorts (cutoff shorts).
10. The Awkward Match.com Date
Bad pick buddy. First date. You thought you knew each other. You thought you knew what she looked like…damn those five year old photos. You thought she was interesting. You thought she actually liked hiking. Now you’re stuck.
Advice: A soft wink to either party will provide some semblance of relief that they’ll get through the day.
BONUS: Cute + Fashionable + Fit Yoga Pants Girl
She’s a rare specimen but they’re out there. She rocks the workout gear with intention. She hikes because she wants to hike. She smiles and says hi to every person she passes.
Advice: Subtly pretend to trip and lightly fall into her. Lock eyes. Make history. Go watch “Summer Catch.”
Happy summer hiking!