You know these hikers. You speed up or slow down to get away from them. They never seem to go away.
Updated for the 2018 hiking season and inspired by this hilarious story from Runner’s World, I bring you 12 odd long distance hiking types.
He’s running at 4 miles per hour, taking no breaks, and traveling light and fast. You may think the FKT is out to break a record, but chances are he is just trying to impress a potential trail suitor (see Pink Blazer) and will be lounging in each trail town for a few days, hanging with the Party Animal (see below).
He may have told the folks back home that he is hiking for the adventure, but he’s really looking for some trail tail. What better time to connect with others than when you’re at your fittest, creating shared memories as you travel in a beautiful place?
This hiker knows every company in the industry and loves telling you how he’s sponsored. The quality of the gear he’s using doesn’t matter so much as letting everyone on trail know that he got it for free.
It’s this 20-somethings first time on her own and she’s going to drink like there’s no tomorrow and hike like there’s no daylight left. These work hard-play-hard hikers are out to prove there’s no time to thru like your 20s. Unless, this person happens to be in her 60s.
This hiker lives for break time in nature. He brings a guitar and sings. He’s plein air watercoloring trailside. While the Artist/Musician may not be the first to finish, he has some beautiful mementos to share when he is done. Whatever he doesn’t make in miles he makes up in goodwill and warm-fuzzy feelings.
A Backpacking Light regular, she knows the weights of all her gear down to the tenth of an ounce (and can even convert that number into grams…although, so can High on the Mountain).
Opposite of the gearhead. Hiking is all about being in nature. And getting awesome photos for Instagram included with a John Muir quote.
He’s got a bunch of electronics and knows how to use them. He’ll stay up past midnight in town uploading photos. The blogger may be hiking in the wilderness, but somehow, that Instagram account gets updated several times a day. Often accompanied with Oversharing and Too Much Information, as well as a bunch of creepy desktop followers.
Mr. and Ms. Fashionable
Just because she’s living in the dirt for a few weeks doesn’t mean that she can’t wear Prada. Mr. and Ms. Fashionable were a frequent sighting last summer on the John Muir Trail, where their favorite hiking costume was Lululemon yoga pants.
High on the Mountain
It may not yet be legal on federal land, but this thruhiker is high on hiking. She doesn’t need snowshoes in early spring because she’s floating on the snow. Favorite hiking states involve Colorado, Washington, and Jamaica.
She loves the hikertrash culture, but finds the whole walking aspect of long distance hiking to be hard. This trail skipper sails his way into lies about the distance and speed he’s hiked, yet somehow manages to smell as bad as if he has just thru-ed.
How can you tell if a long distance hiker has thru-hiked another trail? Don’t worry. He’ll tell you. Without you having to ask first, this guy will tell you every trail he’s hiked and how long it took him. Chances are, he’ll tell you a lot about the AT.