Monday, January 28, 2008

Four Heels are Better Than Two

Tom Mangan, who writes the hiking blog Two Heel Drive, put up this great post about hiking with a date. While "Sex in a Tent" focuses mainly on overnight trips, day hikes are a fabulous way to introduce a new mate (or a potential new mate) to your love of the outdoors.

Here are some of Tom's tips:

  1. Stay on trails you know by heart (wow, a pun!) and don’t do anything stupid. Nothing says “loser” like having to call in a search and rescue team.

  2. Ask about allergies ahead of time and be prepared to change all your plans on a dime if an allergic reaction happens (if she has pine-related allergies, stay out of the redwoods, for instance). Put some Benadryl in your first aid kit.

  3. Single-track trails are terrible for conversation — avoid till you get to know each other (there’ll be plenty for single-tracks to tune out annoying chit-chat about her best friend’s outlaw biker boyfriend after you’ve been dating a few months).

  4. Walk at your companion’s pace (good advice for any hike but especially when you’re trying to prove you might be worth hanging out with on future hike).

  5. Five miles is a long walk for a rookie — as long as you’re demonstrating your capacity for compassion and empathy by asking about allergies, ask probing questions about fitness (think of the payoff if you have a leg fetish!).

  6. Unabridged version of “no means no”: “I don’t like to hike” means “I don’t like to hike.”

Good advice all. I'd like to add a extra bit of advice for the girls out there. If you're a seasoned hiker taking a guy out on the trails for the first time, be careful with his ego. Guys have a hard time shaking off the stereotype that says they should be in control of all "wilderness" situations - navigating, helping you over river crossings etc. Keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't do something stupidly macho to impress you.


camping girl said...

"I don't like to hike" doesn't necessarily mean you should rule out that person giving it a go... you just have to be really nice to them until they agree! I know because these tactics worked on me and now I love getting outdoors.

sara said...

The part about a guy's ego applies to most outdoor or sports activities. I can remember a few ski trips that ended a relationship when they discovered I was a lot better than them. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

The first time my wife and I spent any time together alone was when climbed Pavey Ark in the Lake District. Part of the route was up Jack's Rake which is an easy, but exposed scramble. That was a new experience for her, but fortunately one she enjoyed. I earned extra brownie points by taking enough soup for us both and by undoing her boots and gaiters back at the car park when her hands were too cold to do it.
8 years and 3 children later, we still manage to get out for an occasional walk together.

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