When I was a little kid, I used to be ALL about the outdoors. We're talking tree forts in the woods, swimming in mucky ponds, and hunting for nightcrawlers in the rain.
And then I grew up. And I'm not sure what happened.
These days, I still enjoy being outdoors. But you won't find me regularly camping under the stars (I am SO not a camper), bathing in streams, or embarking on any sort of adventure that would have me doing either of the aforementioned things. I'll take half-day bike rides and a warm shower at night, thanks.
I also am NOT a hiker. Sure, I love a good sweeping landscape. But give me a way to get to it that doesn't include carrying myself up a mountainside on my own two feet, and I'm ALL about it.
Here are some signs that you – like me – may just NOT be a hiker at heart.
Signs you might not be a hiker
1. You are kind of unfit
Let's face it: most of us are not as fit as we'd like to be. We dream about “getting in shape,” but never really get around to it. So when a friend invites us to climb a small mountain and we realize we've spent the last handful of months more or less connected to a laptop on a comfy red couch (this is totally hypothetical, of course…), we don't have the greatest of times.
2. Climbing uphill makes you want to lay down and die
Climbing uphill for more than an hour can really do a number on your calves. Even the best of calves can be afflicted, and trying to walk DOWNhill with jelly-legs never ends well. Trust me on that one.
3. You don't like to sweat
Because it's sticky and slimy and smelly and makes you not want to take any photos proving you've completed the stupid hike because you look so gross.
4. The views/landscapes do not entice you (enough)
Sure, I like the IDEA of seeing the Incan ruins along the trail to Machu Picchu. But those ruins and sweeping views don't entice me quiiiiiite enough to ever want to hike the Inca Trail.
5. You get bored seeing the same scenery for more than 2 hours
Similar to the above item, some hikes just have the same scenery for hours on end. Sure, it might be great and novel for the first hour. But by hour six you are so bored that you start thinking about all the things you hate about hiking – boredom of course being one of them.
6. You're not really that outdoorsy
You might like LOOKING at the outdoors (you know, out of a nice window), but actually interacting with it is a different story. The outdoors can be hot and dirty and filled with bugs and other things that might bite you. And peeing outdoors? OMG NO.
7. Hiking clothing/shoes are hideous
It's just a fact.
8. You don't like “the burn”
People always say to “feel the burn” and that “it will all be worth it in the end.” Well, will it? What if I'm perfectly fine going through life WITHOUT feeling the burn?
9. You don't appreciate encouraging pep talks when your are wheezing and sweating from your knee caps
Pep talks at the best of times can be annoying. But when you're dripping with sweat, out of breath (from being unfit, remember?), and feeling like the scenery was NOT worth the effort, the last thing you want to hear is someone trying to encourage you along. Especially if that someone is NOT sweaty or wheezy or miserable in the slightest.
If you can relate to any of these, then you might not be a hiker either.
But that's totally okay. There are plenty of ways to appreciate the world (even the outside one) without hiking!
(In case you didn't catch the sarcasm here, I don't actually completely despise hiking. I go on hikes fairly frequently on my travels, but have yet to fully plan a trip around it.)
If you want to read some tales of hiking from a relative non-hiker, check out these posts:
- I Hiked to Angels Landing and Didn’t Die!
- Hiking a Ridge Called Misery in Oregon
- Iconic Utah: Hiking to Delicate Arch at Sunset
- Ice, Ice, Baby – Glacier Hiking in Alaska
- The Day the Young Adventuress Tried to Kill Me
- The Hooker Valley Track: The Best Half-Day Hike in New Zealand?
- Hiking New Zealand’s Queen Charlotte Track
So where do you fall? Are you a hiker, or do you hate it as much as I do?
Amanda Williams is the award-winning blogger behind A Dangerous Business Travel Blog. She has traveled to more than 60 countries on 6 continents from her home base in Ohio, specializing in experiential and thoughtful travel through the US, Europe, and rest of the world. Amanda only shares tips based on her personal experiences and places she's actually traveled!