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The woods, like life, can be quite formidable. You need to be prepared physically and mentally to face all of the challenges that can be thrown your way in this unforgiving environment. For your benefit, I have prepared a guide that outlines a few of the trials you may face as a casual, section or thru hiker. Once you’re equipped with these handy tips I guarantee nothing will stand in your way, or your money back.
To be more specific, let’s talk about bears. I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people in this world who have an irrational fear of these animals. Quite often I hear people say, “I don’t want to go camping, I will get eaten by a bear!” Well you know what? With that attitude you probably will be. Bears can smell fear and thrive off of it. Instead, if you ever find yourself face-to-face with one of these beautiful creatures, you need to alert the bear that you are not to be fucked with.
What to do:
Assert dominance by squaring up with the bear; the most alpha thing you can do is show it you’re willing to go toe-to-toe in a fist fight. Put up your dukes and start bobbing and weaving towards the animal. If you find that the bear hasn’t turned to run by the time you’re within striking distance (unlikely), give it a quick one-two jab in the stomach to show it you mean business. Bears are big, but are notorious for being poor boxers, so more often than not they will run when propositioned to a fight.
The good news is you’re actually less likely to get sick while thru hiking. The bad news is that the illnesses you are exposed to on the trail are generally more serious. The diseases a hiker can be exposed to are, but not limited to:
All of these things suck, so let’s take a look what you’re best option is when you succumb to a nasty, communicable disease.
What to do:
Resist the urge to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, never wash your hands and share all food and drink with your hiking companions. Now none of these things will actually do anything to improve your health, but it will get your closest trail friends sick as well, and that way they can’t continue on without you. Sick or not, you’ll never miss a moment of the fun. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!
I get it, I binge eat on bad days too. I’m not going to judge you for consuming three packs of Ramen Noodles and a whole bag of trail mix in one sitting, but it does present a problem. You need supplies and you’re two days from the closest quickie mart. What’s the next move?
What to do:
There is a fine art of acquiring food from strangers, which has been dubbed “yogying”. Everybody has their own opinion on how to go about this, but they are all wrong. When faced with the possibility of starvation, you need to get aggressive in your tactics. When your target has been identified, rub mud all over your naked body and come running and screaming out of the bushes. You are a hardened woods person, and the city folk are weak; chances are good they will take off running and screaming, while you enjoy their left overs. If your prey is not intimidated by your tactics, refer to my advice on handling bears to seal the deal.
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