Soooo … since May is hiking month I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do a “Confessions of a Hiking Travelblogger”. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about those. A lot. When cycling to work, while driving to Germany, while weightlifting at the gym and even while brushing my teeth in the shower (yes, I’m one of those persons who brushes her teeth in the shower… you would actually be amazed how many great ideas I have when I’m in the shower … shame you can’t take a pen and paper with you).
Before you continue reading I’d like to warn you. If you are easily grossed out or if you are queasy in any way, maybe you should reconsider reading this.
I wear my underpants more than one day
“Everything you pack, you must carry up that mountain on your back” is what I learned the hard way. On my first couple of treks I used to take a clean pair of underpants and a clean t-shirt for each day. Believe me, those days are long gone. Nowadays I usually bring 1 pair of underpants for 2 days and 1 t-shirt for the whole trek (unless it’s longer than 4 days, then I’ll bring 2). Disgusting? Sure, if you really think about it. However in most mountainhuts there is no possibility to shower anyway so you may as well just step completely out of your comfort zone and forget about hygiene. Luckily I found some really convenient wetwipes to clean myself and when I wear my underpants the other way around the next day I can’t say that I feel disgusting. That’s just how things work in the mountains. At least, for me… (I recently found an article about cleaning your V on trekkings which you may find handy to read…)
Hiking pants make my bum look fat
I know I’m not alone here when I say that hiking pants are the most unflattering pieces of clothing I’ve ever come across. Not only most of them are plain ugly, they make me look utterly fat, especially my bum. I know I’m not the thinnest person in the world and generally I don’t care, however sometimes I just hate to see myself in pictures where I’m wearing hiking pants and I look too fat in my opinion. All pictures I post online go through a thorough selection: fat bum = ctrl+alt+del. If anyone ever finds a preferrably water-resistant hiking pants that don’t make your bum look fat, please give me a shout out! I’d love to spend a fortune on it…
Camping in bear-country still scares the shit out of me
Even though I’ve camped in bear country quite a lot over the past couple of years, it still scares me. While by now I’m used to hiking in bear country, camping is another piece of cake. Ever since we got a bear on our campsite in Alaska long ago (nothing spectacular, I was woken up by someone who told me they’d spotted a bear and they were chasing it with their guns … never saw the bear though) it made me realize that camping with bears is serious business. On a more recent USA roadtrip we went backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain NP and even though we took all necessary precautions such as carrying a heavy bear-proof bin and cooking far away from our tent, I still felt uneasy during the night. Each time I heard something in the bush, my heart stared racing like crazy and I thought that would be the end of us. It was probably just a squirrel though…(And those who wonder, we are from The Netherlands, no bears or anything like that here, just some wild boars!
I hate saying Hello to the French when hiking
OK French people, shoot me now or skip this part! But the one thing you could do when hiking in a foreign country is say : “Hello” or “Guten Tag” or “Hola” or whatever greeting is used in the country you are hiking in. Whenever I go hiking somewhere I don’t know the language of (which is, when I look back at it, not very often anymore) I try to learn a few basics, one of them is greeting other people when on the track. Somehow, the French are just too stubborn and think that everyone in the whole world will greet them with “Bonjour”. Well I’m sorry but I won’t do it, when hiking anywhere else than France and hearing a “Bonjour” I get pissed off. I won’t show it to the particular person (I’m too nice for that) but it annoys the shit out of me.
I love mountain hut food
I’m not very picky when it comes to food, especially when I’m hungry. There for I’m sure that mountain hut cooks will love me because I eat everything they serve. Well, almost anything. Not because you have no other choice (I always carry some spare food “just in case…”) but I generally like the high number of carbs, fat and sugars in it. Such as Spätzle, which is an Alpine kind of egg noodle that drops into your stomach like a stone after eating it and makes you sick for the rest of the night, pretty much. When on the Berliner Höhenweg in Austria, we got cheese Spätzle one night and I ate mine and everyone else’s leftover before starting to feel nauseous. The next night we had a choice of two and while everyone chose the meat and potatoes, I chose the Spätzle again. Everyone at our table was looking at me like I was crazy but I really enjoyed it a lot, again. And felt sick afterwards *again*. At least now I know where the fat bum I mentioned earlier comes from…
I hate GPS devices and other electrical navigation stuff
Will you believe me when I tell you that we’ve had a Garmin for at least 10 years and I still have no clue on how to use it? Usually Martijn takes care of it and I just look at the map and find my directions there. GPSes only make me stressed out about how many / little kms we have done or how much further we have to climb. I should totally learn how to navigate with it though, since I plan on going on the Pacific Crest Trail by myself next year (if all goes as planned that is…). Now that I’m re-reading this, it’s actually pretty strange that a gadget-geek like me doesn’t like GPSes. OK, the gadget basically means iPhone, but still…
I’ve pissed on my pants (and am still alive)
Many of my friends are scared of squat peeing out in the open and always ask me “how do you do that?” Well, it’s pretty easy however I have to confess that on a bad day, I still manage to piss on my pants. For whatever reason, a wind that blows into the wrong direction for example. Sure, stepping out of the bush with wet pants is kind of embarrassing but recently I learned, while having a conversation with some fellow female hikers, that I’m definitely not the only one. Sometimes I just wish I were a guy, it would make peeing so much easier…
My feet look totally ruined
I’m not a fan of wearing sandals and/or flip flops in the summer, because they show off how ugly my feet are. I’m not sure it has to do with all the hiking I do but it sure contributes to it. My nails look like hell (to hide that I usually paint them black) and there are scars and blisters and such all over. My feet are super sensitive and nobody can ever touch them, not even a doctor or Martijn. I used to go to a pedicure to treat my feet (for me it’s hell having someone touch my feet for an hour) but it cost a fortune so I gave up on that. It’s only ugly looking feet after all…
I don’t always dig a hole when pooping…
Maybe one of the most painful ones, especially since I just finished reading “How to Shit in the Woods” which I found a horrible read by the way. Peeing in the bush is easy, but pooping in the bush is a totally different story. While pee just dries and nobody will ever notice you did your thing where they are having their lunch, poop takes forever to go away, so finding the right spot is essential. But when there, it’s just not always possible to dig a hole and bury your waste. Sorry fellow hikers, but carrying a shovel is just not something I do, for that weight I’d rather take another pair of underpants. Or two.
I buy new outdoor gear just because I love shopping
… And not because I need it. Like many other females, I like to splurge on clothes every now and then. Even though I don’t really have an expensive taste in general, outdoor gear has to be good. And that usually means it’s expensive, but it also means that it will last forever. Or almost. However, you can’t really to expect me to wear the same outdoor jacket on all of my 15 trips each year and look the same in every picture for 10 years in a row, right? So I’ve gathered quite a big stack of outdoor gear over the past years. For example, I own 2 down jackets, 2 rain jackets, 2 soft shells, at least 5 fleece sweaters, 3 fleece hoodies, 15 different color hiking shirts and the list goes on … I’m already looking forward to my trip to Iceland next month because then I can finally buy myself something from Cintamani, a brand I’ve looked up online and love every bit and piece of. If only 66° North would be a bit cheaper, too…
I’m always hungy at 10 o’clock
This last confession was one that Martijn came up with, which proves that it must be really serious for him to mention it while I was thinking about items for this post. And yes I have to say, he’s right. No matter where I am or how much I eat, I’m always hungry at 10.00 am. ALWAYS! While he can go forever on one of our self-made oatmeal breakfasts, my body just needs food at 10.00 am. So each time we’re hiking, I’m sure to bring some extra food for that 10.00 am moment…
In all honesty, there are at least 10 more things I could have mentioned here but as I’m getting near 2.000 words here and I have probably lost you half way down this blog already, I’ll end here for today. I hope that by talking about peeing and pooping and that sort of shit I didn’t scare you too much, however you can’t say I didn’t warn you at the beginning.
Now it’s time for your to be honest … what is you hiking confession? I don’t believe you when you say you don’t have any! If you liked this article, I’m sure you will like my previous confessions too.
May is hiking month on we12travel. During this month we’ll share our passion for walking/hiking with you.
Some of the previous posts include:
– The best (half) day hikes in the United States and Canada
– The best destinations for newbie hikers
– Hiking in the Harz: climbing Brocken
Thank you for sharing!