While hiking is healthy and fun activity, there are things that can make it much less enjoyable. They came in all sizes and shapes, from within and without… Today, I’ll share my personal Top10 hiking annoyances. In no particular order.
Curse those buzzing vermin to hell and back, twice. If you take hiking as a serious sport, it means sweating. And sweating means those flying buggers will find you, sooner or later, especially if you go alone to unknown places, making you the only target around. It becomes even worse when they fly around you so persistently they photobomb your pictures. Fortunately, there are insect repellent sprays – but those smell awful for a change.
Don’t get me wrong, letting cows and sheep graze on grass instead of closing them in a stall is good. Once a trail leads you across a pasture, though… The problem is those animals will crap anywhere, including the very obvious path so you can’t just cross it the shortest way unless you don’t mind a thorough cleaning of your boots as soon as you cross it. And while these domesticated animals are not aggressive, the weight ratio is way in my disfavor should something go wrong.
Also, animal dung attracts flies – see point above.
Rain is inconvenient but not that bad. A storm, on the other way… when it hits so close the whole mountain shakes and you vibrate with it for a few seconds after, it gets scary. Being hit by lightning is potentially lethal danger. The icy crossfire of hail is not pleasant, either.
Forgetting small things
I don’t mean keys, ID, and other things you carry around every day but hiking ‘necessities’ such as sunglasses and/or sunscreen on sunny day, hat, backup socks (should your get wet due to crossing a stream or rain or something) etc. Yes, you can do without most of it – but with significant discomfort.
Small delay will probably mean nothing. If you miss a follow-up train due to a larger delay and have to either wait a long time for the next one (and thus have less time for the hike itself) or make up some different plan on the spot, it’s not fun.
This is the trickiest one because you’ll most likely feel it much later, probably the second day. It might be easy to underestimate the sun when you go high into the hill where it’s a bit colder – but the sunshine is that much stronger. If you have as much luck as I had in 2009 and a hailstorm is brought on your sunburnt skin… ouch.
Vandalism and thieves
While pickpockets are not as big a danger in the hills as they are in the city, some people are able to steal or destroy anything. A bench on a remote train stop? Nah, someone though it’ll look well on their garden. Someone else just discovered spray paint exists and gave the stop’s shelter a makeover – and did not care for the fact they sprayed over the schedule hanging on its wall.
One of the reason I prefer sticking to unknown places. When the trail is so crowded I can’t walk more than 10 steps at my own pace or when it’s almost impossible to take a photo of a rock formation, it’s the shortest way to ‘don’t return for a few years’ list, no matter how nice the place might be.
This is mostly about the camera – the main way I can show what I’ve seen to my family (and, eventually, readers of this blog). Yes, this could’ve been theoretically brushed in with the ‘forgetting’ part as it’s about forgetting a backup or forgetting to re-charge it. It’s similar with GPS which I use more to track my journey (and then store the log) than to find my way.
Yes, both can be supplied with a smartphone these days – at the cost of reducing it’s battery life (and thus possibly moving the problem to another device). That and I still did not uncover the mysterious ways phone camera uses for where it focuses, unlike my pocket camera which is the ol’ good ‘point and shoot’ without filters and whatnot.
Probably the worst. People who blast their music loud in a forest, take a whole bench (large enough for 3-4 people) for themselves by putting stuff on it, make mess, can’t get their kids to not run from one side of the path to the another to the point they almost trip every other person there, walk very slowly side-by-side on a narrow path to the point they make passing them almost impossible, and countless other shows of bad manners and disregard towards others. Any of it easily makes me curse inwardly and makes me hope I’ll get far away from them as soon as possible.
So, this is my list of 10 worst hiking annoyances. I’ll go back to showing nice places and telling stories about visiting nice places in my next hiking-related post but those travels are not just careless walk all the time, despite the fact I want to make them look so…
Feel free to share what buggers the hell out of you when you want to relax in the outdoors.