I joined Hashbrown on her thru-hike for 2 weeks in July. I had never been hiking or met HB before, so I had no idea what to expect. She was probably the best partner I could have landed because she knew what to do while with another girl.
•Complain too much.
Upon starting my journey, I found out hiking is exhausting, my back does not like carrying 30 pounds of gear, and Pasta Sides suck. I complained a lot at first, but I noticed HB didn’t say a word about it. I asked her why and she said, “Usually there’s no one around to hear me. So, I kind of just stopped thinking negative thoughts”. That was a revolutionary idea to me. I made significant progress on cutting the negative out, but I let a few complaints slip every now and then.
I thought HB would feel like I was stomping on her turf. She had been hiking for 4 months already and here I pop out of the suburbs, freshly showered and ready to go. But she didn’t see hiking as ‘hers’, it’s something she wants to share (hence, this blog). Her enthusiasm for my joining her made me more at ease.
I thought my slow pace would drive HB crazy, but she didn’t mind at all. This actually made me feel more comfortable with my hiking ability because I was really self conscious at first about slowing her down. By the end, she was pushing me to go further every day and I was totally up for it. Being laid back helped us avoid tension. Also, don’t get upset if you don’t make it as far as you planned one day. The trail isn’t about getting to the end; it’s about the awesome experiences you have on the way.
This goes for hiking with anyone. I was nervous about HB getting annoyed with me, so I shared all my food with her. It was a good move because she shared equipment that I didn’t have and seemed to like me (haha). We ended up buying food together and each carrying half. Sharing made things a lot easier and brought us closer.
There are tons of cute hiker boys on the trail. Talking about them made those dinners I accidentally burnt and long rainy days bearable. Also, a layer of femininity is often lost while hiking. Having girl talk helped us stay in touch with that side of ourselves and brought us closer.
-Reading fun magazines like Cosmo is also a big help if you’re feeling particularly masculine.
•Give each other space.
You don’t have to have constant conversation. HB and I usually didn’t talk when we were hiking, just when we were on breaks and hanging out. Therefore, I had time to appreciate and reflect upon the tranquility of the forest. Also, if your partner seems annoyed or cranky you can find out why later. What they usually need is some time to let the steam off.
We look gross in the woods, there’s no way around it. But these are awesome times you’ll want to remember forever! Having a photo shoot over a break is a great way to bond. Plus, no one can smell you in a photo – go all out!
Meredith “Mocha” Kee is a band geek from the Chicago ‘burbs. She’ll be going to the University of Colorado after she rides her bike across the country and hikes the AT… after she finishes high school, of course.