Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sharing the love: A guide to sharing your appreciation of the mountains with your hike-curious friends

He asked for it. Several times when we were at work together. He asked for it again when we were sat in the warm bosom of the pub at Christmas. He wanted to discover what keeps driving me to disappear into the cold, wind-swept mountains, especially in the depths of winter. He begged me to take him on a proper hike, to show him what I saw when I was away from the crowds and distractions of the modern world. He wanted to experience the weather, un-fettered by the protection of the city. He also stated he wanted 'a good workout'. How could I refuse...

Deciding on the right time to go: December, the day after a snow storm dumps fresh powder on top of a fairly slick and compacted layer of old snow. Perfect.

Pointing out the wildlife: When asked the name interesting looking fauna and flora try your best to appear knowledgeable. Hence the on-the-spot christening of 'green stuff with brown polyps' pictured here.

Route choice: Be truthful about the expected difficulty of your chosen path. "Honestly, it's almost entirely flat!"

Timing: "Honestly, it'll take us a few hours. I ran it in a couple in the summer". 4 hours later and we're still going up...

Navigation: Teach your friend to read the subtle, almost imperceptible signs in nature that will aid their progress through the great outdoors.

Stay hydrated: Keeping well hydrated will ensure your brain is alert and crucial decision making will be done with a clear head. This is easily done when the pump in the post-hike pub malfunctions whilst pouring your two pints and you end up with another four for free...

In reality the day was a complete success. My friend really enjoyed himself, even when the weather was less than kind in a few places and even when I suggested that he spend some time breaking trail through the knee deep snow "At one point I nearly lost it, it was just so deep". He shot dozens of photos and used words such as 'Wow' and 'Beautiful!' all day. Despite admitting to feeling very tired and aching legs, if any further proof of his enjoyment was required, he asked "Can we do it again?". Damn, I'll have to make it much tougher next time!

14 comments:

kate said...

sounds like your the guy to know, particularly for post hill refreshments! ....will he come out again?

Thunder In The Night said...

Kate - yes, my friend will definitely be joining me again. Alas the broken beer pump was a fortuitous occasion that I doubt will ever be repeated!

Roger said...

Lovely pictures!
Happy new year to you!

Thunder In The Night said...

Roger - thank you, happy new year to you too.

Nielsen Brown said...

Well done Joe, in an earlier life in a land far far away I took students out on trips to the local forests and then to the higher peaks and other fascinating places. I really enjoyed these trips and even now I hear from some of these former students (now adults with children) who still go to the mountains and are grateful for me introducing them to the joys of the outdoors. In my view you have the ideal country to introduce those who have not left the tarmac to the wonders of the mountains.

Hendrik M said...

That's awesome stuff right there, Joe. Getting yourself a mate for the mountains, introducing him from the start to UL hiking and backpacking, and drinking some refreshing beverages at the end of the day, yes, that's how it should be.

Chris (i-cjw.com) said...

That's what it's all about - sounds like you picked the right mate to introduce to the hills.

That first pic in particular is a beauty. But the last one... some of us are trying to go dry for January!!

Thunder In The Night said...

Roger - it was good that Zach was curious about why I spend my evenings and weekends far away from the city. He wanted to know what made me get out into the mountains and after that day out he said he totally understood.

Hendrik - I'm not sure if Zach will be up for much hiking and camping this year, he's expecting his first child in March! When I say 'he's expecting' obviously I mean his wife :-)

Chris - that first photo was a team effort! I acted as art director, Zach pulled the trigger and then I tweaked it a little post-production. I like the way it came out! As for your alcohol abstinence this month? I prefer to set New Years resolutions that I know are well within my capabilities. Cheers!

Gaute said...

I saw this beatiuful image of the UK on the Bad astronomy blog http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/07/tis-a-bit-nippy-guvnah/
The whole of the UK coverd in white snow... now that's a rare occurance!

Titanium said...

That's the perfect approach to post-hike hydration! Love it.

Beautiful photos, too...

Thunder In The Night said...

Titanium - thanks for dropping by. Beer is isotonic right?!

mcalisterium said...

That first photo!!! :) Perfect exposure...

One thing your recent shots have really brought home to me, is something that's has always irked me about Scotland... the lack of natural forestation on our uplands.

In my early twenties, I was actually involved in a reforestation project in Wester Ross, around Gairloch and Ullapool. I was just a grunt digging holes and planting, but it was great to go back last summer [10+ yrs] to see how the trees were getting on and how they enhanced the landscape.

Alastair said...

haha! this is great

Thunder In The Night said...

Alastair - thanks, glad it made you smile!