What's another term for a female hiking partner?
A good trail buddy!
Someone who "gets" it, sharing laughs and bug bites, enduring a soggy night in a leaky tent with you, creating memories one trip at a time... Ah! Good times.
I started out backpacking with the Girl Scouts, so maybe that's why I'm nostalgic about girlfriend trail time.
Without guys around, you can forget about hair styles and whether there's trail dirt on your face.
Certain subjects tend to come up and are discussed freely.
Life experiences are shared willingly, without the veneer of acceptability for a male audience.
And I've learned some pretty good jokes from my women trail buddies!
Besides, who else is going to tell you that you have dirt on your face? Or that your favorite trail shorts need an immediate duct tape repair?
Having said that, I'd like to offer a short list of ways to keep your relationships with female hiking partners strong:
1. Be up front with your hiking buddy about your comfort level, your endurance, your expectations on the trail.
2. Request that she be upfront with you at all times.
3. Share planning, travel, and trip responsibilities.
4. Bring your sense of humor on each and every hike.
5. Don't take yourself too seriously. You can always learn from other people.
6. Surprise your trail buddy once in awhile with a new flavor of energy bar, fresh baked cookies, maybe a birthday lunch that's a touch on the "fancy" side for a hike.
One thing that I've found works well is to alternate who's in charge of picking & orchestrating each hike.
One person volunteers to do the necessary research:
The planner is also usually the driver for that hike.
In return, the hiker who is the recipient of all that planning treats the planner to a hot dinner on the drive home, and provides top notch co-piloting, trail companionship, and humor.
On the next hike, the duties switch.
There's probably no need to keep track of mileage or dinner costs in any formal manner because it all seems to even out over time.
Here's another consideration.
It's important to find a female hiking partner who matches your hiking abilities.
It's no fun having to slow your pace continuously, or struggle to keep up your hiking partner. Good trail buddies monitor the pacing and check in with each other every once in a while on the trail.
They share the "alpha" female position of leading on the trail, navigation, decisions about turn around time, and other important safety issues.
This may not be true when hiking with males.
An exception to what I just said would be if you WANT to be challenged, or are seeking a seasoned outdoors woman as a mentor.
In that case, both of you understand that the purpose of trail time is viewed more as a learning opportunity than as a hike with peers.
One more thing!
Over the years, after hiking with both males and females, I've noticed that females literally see different things along the trail.
I finally found a book that supports this observation: "Gifts of the Wild: A Woman's Book of Adventure." This collection of essays ranges all over the map in terms of types of hiking described, but there are certain essays which capture the female ability to SEE in a unique way.Gifts Of The Wild Book
Let me know how you like it!
And be sure to share it with your female hiking partners, maybe as a nice little surprise on your next hiking trip.
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