I have definitely been on many hikes where my hiking partner and I have gotten on each other’s nerves. Here are some great tips by Annie on how to avoid pushing each other’s buttons.
Everyone hikes for their own reasons whether it be solace, health, or love of the outdoors. Recently there has been a trend of hiking alone, men and women both taking to the trails by themselves. There is definitely an allure to an absence of conversation, including the ability to hike completely free of worry about another’s pace or needs. Hiking alone affords one the opportunity to not only connect to nature but to be aligned with one’s self. Today’s demanding world and living in a constant state of connection can be overwhelming and nature is therapeutic.
I myself, have never hiked alone although it’s something I’m not opposed to trying, I prefer to hike with my husband and dog. I have been very fortunate in that my husband shares the same passion for the outdoors as I do. Hitting the trail together allows us to share our experiences and forces us to not only grow as people but as a couple.
There are many challenges in hiking with your significant other, it’s easy to press each other’s buttons in a myriad of ways. Navigation, weariness, nutrition, hydration, aches and pains can effortlessly insert tension into a hike.
Over the years we have found ways to combat issues that can arise during couples hiking, below are several of the tools we have developed during almost 18 years of hiking and outdoor adventures.
• Preparation is key; take the time to research where you’re going and how to get there, also prep your gear. Take the proper clothes, bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, and water for your outing. Frustration can develop quickly if you’re having trouble navigating, cold/hot, being eaten alive by bugs, sunburnt, hungry, or thirsty. Head that frustration off at the pass by being prepared for two.
• Be agreeable; The right attitude will go far not only in daily life but on the trail as well. No one wants to hike with Oscar the Grouch, get the chip of your shoulder and enjoy yourself. Don’t dwell on things or hold grudges on the trail. Should an issue arise that is of significance take the time to sit down and sort it out or save it for when you are back home, if it’s not important enough for either, let it go.
• Have patience/understanding; Humans are innately different including tolerance levels for pain, endurance and adversity. Your partner may not be able to keep your pace, have to rest more frequently, or have less fortitude passing a difficult section in the trail. Patience and understanding will help both you enjoy the outdoors more. Encouragement instead of hostility will assist in more than just hiking a trail.
• Be conscious of yourself; Recognize your own issues and address them. Hunger and hydration can be underlying issues of many emotions. Snacking and drinking can boost your energy levels and transition moods. Aches and pains can instantly flip a switch on one’s demeanor. Admit if you are having an issue to yourself then to your partner and you can work together to find a solution. Should something be frustrating you, confront it so you and your partner can enjoy yourselves.
Hiking together is an enjoyable experience that has allowed us to develop a deep bond with ourselves, each other, and nature. Over many years we’ve learned our limits, the signs of when the other is having an issue, and how to address them. It’s not always the easiest path to take, hiking with your partner, but the best paths never are.