If they didn’t constantly take off their boots to show off their blisters, you’d swear that they had two left feet. Kate, on behalf of all your clumsy hiking mates, wants to have a word.
We all know one. That friend you take hiking who always has you wondering…
‘How the hell have they kept alive until now?’
A name probably popped into your head just then (if a name didn’t pop into your head, I’m sorry but it’s probably you). It’s the friend that can never seem to get away unscathed. If someone is going to twist an ankle, be bitten by an insect, or have a bad bouldering blunder, it’s them. The mate that is simply an accident waiting to happen.
Yeah, that’s me. Your clumsy hiking friend
Now I have plenty of experience as a walking disaster. My first time hiking ever was in high school and I was as keen as they come. With my hair braided and bright blue zinc smeared across my nose I scrambled my way up our first mountain with little regard for my surroundings. It was only after we reached the top huffing, that one of my mates pointed at my leg and shrieked.
Turns out that, in one of my less graceful moments, I’d taken the skin off the entire front of my shin and hadn’t noticed until my leg was a bloody mess. While my friends were quick to gag, I was far too pumped to let a bit of blood dampen my day. So in the spirit of Monty Python, I chuckled on a grin and said, ‘tis but a scratch’.
It was hardly the last time I found myself banged up whilst out on adventures, my mates have seen me through plenty of scrapes, burns, bites, chipped teeth, and even broken bones.
So while I might not be your clumsy mate, specifically, I have a few things to say on behalf of clumsy hiking friends everywhere.
Cheers for Still Bringing Us Along
It’s common knowledge that having clumsy hiking mates means prepping for that worst-case scenario. We’ve burned through enough first aid supplies to make that lesson a lingering one. And yet, you still bring us along, and for that we’re grateful.
Besides, you can’t say you don’t get plenty out of it. Having been in plenty of accidents before, you know that your clumsy hiking mate is the best person in a crisis. They’re the ones who’ll know how to create a makeshift sling, or know from experience when a rope is probably a bit too dodgy to trust. When everyone else is freaking out, you know that mate is going to be the one saying, ‘nah, she’ll be right’.
And even though they’re the cause of the anxiety half the time, your clumsy hiking friend is, more often than not, the one that keeps spirits high.
Read more: Confessions of a #GranolaGirl
You have to admit your first aid skills have improved…
The first time I went hiking, I’d have to admit that none of my mates had stomachs of steel. My bloody leg sent most of them green at the gills. One friend begged me to plaster my skinned shin with bandaids saying
‘It won’t do anything, but that is gross’
Our hiking instructor told us that the best thing to do with a scrape that big is to give it a clean and air it out. Nevertheless, my friend, trying her hardest not to gag, popped a single band-aid on my knee as an attempt at first aid.
Since then, that friend has gone through plenty more injuries with me and it’s safe to say her first aid skills have improved tenfold. She’s now the queen of tape and bandages, and can strap an ankle or bandage up a wound without looking like she’s about to throw up anymore.
That’s right, it’s thanks to your clumsy mates that your first aid skills have improved, and your stomachs are a lot less sensitive. We’re not just the reason your first aid kit remains well stocked, we come with life skills training. Who knew?
C’mon, without us, those adventures would be a lot less exciting
I think most hikers have rolled their eyes, as a mate has laughingly teased that ‘it’s not about the destination, but the journey’. But the quote that starred on every travel blog in the 2010s, has a point.
It’s all well and good to summit that mountain, send that climb, and tick that challenging hike off the bucket list. But we all know that what makes a good adventure are the stories where everything goes wrong. It’s the leeches, and the rain, and the sprained ankles, and marching five kilometres in the wrong direction.
Read more: Can You Ever Really Fail an Adventure?
What makes a good adventure is weathering the storm and coming out on the other side; bloodied, bruised, but with a massive grin on your face. And as your clumsy hiking mates, we’re more than happy to help add to the drama and thrill of a good story.
Feature photo thanks to Amy Fairall