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Hiking is great. After all, it’s a wonderful opportunity to temporarily break out of the stifling vortex of everyday stress in our city-life hustle and surround ourselves with pure, unadulterated nature (why,I can almost smell it). Not to mention, there’s a whole slew of health benefits that’s been proven to be associated with hiking, that you may want to look up on. So it’s a no-brainer as to why more and more Singaporeans are busting out their daypacks and packing their water bottles for a day out on the trails.
With that said, such a popular activity is bound to attract a wide variety of different people, who may have very different motivations when it comes to hiking. That’s fine and dandy, until you find yourself walking side by side with people who can be described as nothing short of a little...quirky. And here’s where it gets funny: Much like how George Mallory famously countered being asked why he decided to climb Mount Everest with “Because it’s there”, the following types of hikers in this list all have their very own ‘patterns’ that will either leave you amused, or bemused.
Also known as ‘The Alpha’, ‘The First’, ‘He Who We Hear But Do Not See’, etc. etc. The profile of The Leader often includes a certain marathon or Ironman Triathlon completion, and is now taking his hiking game to the next level, by walk-sprinting at a pace so fast he’s gone from your field of vision before you can ask ‘what was that?’ Consequently, this type of hiker is a lone-wolf, and prefers going at his own, flash-esque pace. After all, he doesn’t have time waiting for us average joes to catch up to him.
2. The Selfie Junkie.
Whether you are hiking alone or in a group, one of the most common species of hikers you will meet is the Selfie Junkie. Characterised by their inability to take more than a hundred steps without stopping to pose for their 13435th insta-story for the day, these hikers are here solely for the bragging rights (#healthylifestyle, #newyearnewme). If you happen to be in the same group as one of them, good luck to you getting any hiking done at all.
3. The Collector.
Somewhat similar to the Selfie Junkie, the Collector is also easily distracted by their surroundings. But instead of whipping out the phone, these hikers will instead take in whatever it is that caught their eye. Sturdy-looking branch? Take. Funnily-shaped mushrooms? Take. Suspicious piece of rubber? Take. Okay, maybe not the last one.
4. The 'Doraemon'.
Anyone familiar with the robot cat who possesses omnifarious gadgets and trinkets may be thinking, ‘Wait a minute, this can’t be bad right?’ And you’d be right. There’s really nothing wrong with someone overpacking for a 5 hour hike, except maybe being the last one to show up within a hiking group. But when I say overpacking, I mean it. I’m talking about a literal 5 DAYS worth of provisions and gear inside his poor, grossly overstuffed backpack. Whether these types of hikers actually use even 10% of their trekking ‘essentials’, is anybody’s guess.
5. The Minimalist.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have this fella. Armed with nothing but shorts and sandals (yes, they might not even wear a proper top), the Minimalist will leave you worrying for his safety until you realise that this level of modesty is probably backed by years of experience under his belt. Probably.
6. The Unfortunate One
Lost his wallet, lost his way, weather (wrongly) forecasted a sunny day. We are all too familiar with that one person who just can’t seem to catch a break no matter what they do. At least, according to themselves. Whether the predicament they find themselves in is truly a result of Lady Luck’s mischief, it is nevertheless wise to lend a helping hand to a fellow hiker in trouble. After all, what goes around comes around, right?
7. The Family
More and more local families are adopting hiking as their ideal avenue for some good old family fun in the outdoors. And that is great. What’s potentially not so great is when they bring their interpersonal familial tensions into the picture. Picture in your mind a rebellious teenager in the throes of puberty, a wailing child who’s gotten one too many mosquito bites, a stressed-out mother trying to calm everyone down and the determined dad who’s convinced that this trip is what the family ‘needs’ to bond. I don’t know about you, but I’m staying far, far away from that mess.
8. The Complain Queen/King
Last but definitely not least, this is one type of hiker that needs no further elaboration. If you don’t want your pristine hiking experience to be constantly bombarded with a barrage of meaningless grievances the likes of “are we there yet”(x5) and “why is it so hooooooot”, then do your best to steer clear of these people when planning a hiking trip.