Hikers Anonymous Association

Hiker’s Anonymous Association

You might be a hiker if…

  • A new hiking store opens and you have to go see what they have, even though you have 3 sets of every piece of camping equipment ever sold.
  • A hiking or camping brochure arrives at work in the mail, and nothing seems to get done all morning until you’ve read it 3 times and highlighted new gizmos which you’re sure you don’t have.
  • when you walk into a hiking or camping store your teen age son or daughter demands to hold onto your wallet and credit card until you are safely out of the store and on the way home.
  • Your kitchen has salamis drying all year hanging from the ceiling just in case you get an opportunity to catch a quick 2-3 day hike and need ready access to dried meat.
  • your closets and freezer are full of dehydrated food.
  • you eat your cereal at home with powdered milk.
  • You rush home every nite from work to read ATML or ATL or PCTL or WhiteBlaze.
  • You see, and confront, and FAIL to resolve the contradictory urges to acquire new gadgets and gear yet keep them out of your pack to keep from exceeding X% of your body weight.
  • Pack manufacturers got “Caller I.D.” just so they could know you were calling, and ignore you.
  • While on the trail, even in conversation with other people, you refer to yourself in the third person.
  • While in a highrise building’s staircase, you can’t climb up without wondering and comparing what it would look like if the staircase were unfolded and stretched along some ridge somewhere.
  • If rainy mornings leave you fearful of being wet and cold all day, even though your home or workplace is in a walled structure.
  • If, once wetted by rain in a non-hiking environment, your first thought is to reach for a comforting handful of gorp.
  • If extreme weather conditions of any sort instill curiosity about the current conditions on top of Mt _______.
  • If word association tests of the phrase “2 miles” prompt the answer “1 hour.”
  • If you screen someone’s personal attractiveness based on your estimate of how they’d look in a leanto in the morning.
  • If you refer to even a single piece of hiking gear with a proper name, such as “Betsy,” “Maybell,” “Mack,” or “Bill.”
  • If you have ever gone to a cocktail party and used the phrase “Yeah, but what’s your trailname?”
  • If you remain incredulous that EVERYONE is not a member of The Clean Plate Club.
  • If you consider a hot shower to be a quasi-religious activity.
  • When it rains, even though you are at work, you want to drive home, immediately put on your gore tex jacket and see if it really will keep you dry in a pouring downpour that goes on for 5 hours.
  • same with your new tent.
  • you have an entire wardrobe of nylon shirts and pants, even though you only take 1 with you when you hike.
  • you have more backpacks than underwear.
  • you wear Thorlo socks to the office.
  • If the walls of your cubical are totally obscured with hiking pictures, articles about hiking, maps, etc.
  • If you know the distances between shelters, road crossings etc on “your” section of the Trail.
  • If you refer to a trail location as “my section,” or “my overlook,” or “my campsite,” etc.
  • When you are eating with friends (non hikers) and suddenly all is silent except for the noise that you are making as you scrape every fragment of barley from the soup bowl….and everyone is staring at you. And you are reeeeaaly glad you came to your senses before you started to lick the bowl.
  • You are prone to storing your spoon in your mouth between courses.
  • You repeatedly drive off the side of the road because you are looking at the ridges and thinking ‘what a hell of a climb that gap would be’
  • You return from the grocery store all aglow because you found a new line of ‘meals in a bag’.
  • You fondle gear….even if it isn’t yours.
  • You smile and let out a great big sigh when you read this list!!
  • You commonly say “hiking” to mean backpacking, when everyone else means dayhiking….
  • When asked how long the hike was you reply with the number of weeks or months….
  • You DRIVE into a strange town and wonder where to pick up your mail drop….
  • You start to recognize faces along the trail because you’ve passed/met these other nuts before……
  • When you can’t get away you really want to knock out the outside bedroom wall or just set the tent up in the back yard!
  • When looking at a gear catalogue, before looking at the price, you check out the weight. If it’s not listed, you move on to something else, no matter how interesting it sounds.
  • You think “being off medication” means not taking vitamin I.
  • You know you’re addicted (or perhaps hopelessly beat up) when you leave your Lekis by the staircase!
  • On Thanksgiving, you thought about how much more food you could put away if you were on the trail…
  • If you are in the middle of an important report for work, and you forget completely about it because someone mentioned the word, “Hiking.”
  • You are eating dinner, and everyone is staring at you because you tell the waiter you won’t drink the water till you see it boiled.
  • You see a new tent model, and cause a 12 mile back up in traffic because you jumped out of the car and left it in the middle of the road.
  • Your heart skips a beat when you see a bold sign stating “Tent Sale” then are crushed when you find out that means that they are selling cars or furniture under a big tent. I propose a constitutional amendment that when the phrase “Tent Sale” is used that there must be tents on sale!
  • a. If you’ll only buy books that have “hiking” or “backpacking” or “trail guide” in the title.
    b. Or if you’ll buy ANY book with “hiking,” “backpacking,” or “AT” in the title.
  • When some one asks you how old your shoes or other pieces of hiking and non-hiking clothes are you reply “oh about X miles.”
  • When you quote “WEEKS TO GO” and “DAYS TO GO” countdowns to loved ones and strangers alike, though usually to the backs of their heads.
  • If more that half of your closet space contains backpacking and hiking gear.
    a. More like half the room.
    b. For us, it’s one and a half rooms, 2 closets, part of the living room, the entire basement and the back of 2 pickup trucks.
    c. If you have a dedicated room for your backpacking and hiking gear.
  • When even your dog recognizes a white blaze.
  • You insist that your wife/husband/s-other wrap all your Christmas gifts in brown paper with “Please Hold For AT Hiker” and “c/o General Delivery” all over the outside with a big , fat , CFT (Cuban felt tip).
  • You’re found by the young clerk at the Mall Sporting Goods Store sound asleep on a dozen or so Louisville Slugger’s you carefully arranged on the floor of aisle 9.
  • You get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you smell Coleman fuel.
  • You think Viagra is the name of those good ole hiking soles that last a long time.
  • You find the AT Data Book a good read and keep it by the nightstand.
  • You don’t like really putting stuff up, because if it’s sitting out you can pretend you’re going on a trip soon. You get a smile on your face every time you wake up and see your backpack first thing in the morning.
  • When your life is REALLY stressful by anyone’s standards, but you don’t even seem to notice, because YOU KNOW that in about 70-something weeks, you get to go on a nice, long hike.
  • When you go to the store and check to see how many yards versus weight on each brand of TP so you can be sure and have enough TP on the trail yet keep it as lightweight as possible.
  • Whenever you travel on the east coast you try to pick out where your route crosses the AT, even when you’re flying, and make everyone on the plane look down at it.
  • While on non-hiking trips, the first thing you do after checking into a motel/hotel is check the yellow pages for outfitters.
  • You have to explain to your traveling partner why all of the short cuts and scenic routes you take seem to go past at least one outfitter.
  • You sit down to plan the family vacation and your wife says with full support of the rest of the family, “The vacation this year will NOT include backpacking, hiking, walking in the woods, having lunch by a secluded waterfall, watching the sunset from the best viewpoint in the mountains. In fact, if we even suspect that you are going to trick us again, the only mountain you’re going to see is Space Mountain!” With the threat of Disney hanging over your head you are a beat person and give in to anything they want.
  • Your computer sign-on password is AT-related.
  • Your computer wallpaper or screensaver is a USGS map.
  • You think Coleman fuel smells better than your wife’s perfume.
  • Every time you type the word “trial” it inevitably comes out “trail.” And you don’t bother to correct it.
  • Your eyes first gaze at a woman’s calves instead of her ______!
  • At mealtime you consider a convenience store a five star restaurant.
  • You take your dinnerware at home on your camping trips.
  • You’d just as soon perc your coffee over an open fire.
  • Your coffee pot at home is used over an open fire.
  • You know every sleezy motel along the Appalachian Trail.
  • You know every restaurant along the Appalachian Trail.
  • If the convenience store has a table inside or a picnic table outside you consider it a restaurant.
  • At home you go outside to go to the bathroom.
  • When guests invite you to stay over you go to your car and pull out your sleeping bag.
  • You fall asleep at 8 P.M.
  • If cooking directions at home include anything other than ‘bring water to a boil’ you’re confused.
  • You like oatmeal!!!
  • You even weigh non-hiking equipment just in case.
  • You’ve headlined a WWF event as “Super Makalu”, the Hiking Pole from Gdansk.
  • You weigh your new inflatable pillow with and without the air in it, just to be sure.
  • You’ve had non-hikers back away from you after you announce you’ve just got a new case of Esbits.
  • You experience a strange Pavlovian reaction when watching reruns of the TV show Quincy.
  • You’ve worn duct tape on your ankles *and* a suit to church on the same Sunday.
  • Your “Idea of the Month” is Starbucks in a tea bag.
  • At home, you prefer sleeping on a mat on the floor then sleeping in a bed.
  • You don’t really give a thought to Y2K and live for the moment!
  • If you are an old believer in the “3 Second Rule” – where a food item that is dropped on the ground for less than three seconds is deemed still edible, and the time is doubled for Snickers bars….
  • If you believe “God bless it and make it clean” works on dropped food.
  • Rumors of layoffs at work don’t bother you, since you know where you can survive on $100 a week…. and would welcome the excuse to go hiking.
  • You believe among hungry thru-hikers, once it hits the ground, it’s up for grabs and rarely last more than a second. And that’s for an M & M’s, now Snicker bars, they can cause serious head injuries, due to collisions!
  • True story- on a recent business trip I had to wear regular shoes for 3 days, instead of my normal hiking boots I wear to the office.  After 3 days I barely could walk, I hobbled off the plane, with severe pain in my heels. I even considered asking for a wheelchair to get me to the curb. Exactly 1 day later after wearing my hiking boots to the office for a 12 hour day, the pain was gone, and my feet were better! Honest injun- even my feet get upset when they have to wear ” regular” footwear!
  • You buy hiking related Christmas gifts for people even if they don’t hike just because you think new gadgets are cool.
  • If you pass milk cows grazing in a field and wonder if you could figure out how to milk one, it’s been so long since you’ve had fresh milk…
  • when you think Y2k is a improved ykk zipper. Making you wonder what the year 2000 fuss is all about.
  • If you’re in the Japanese food section sniffing packs of SailorMoon Noodles, wondering exactly what’s in the ‘Triple Dragon Sunrise’ flavor.
  • When the only way to get to sleep at night is to think and dream of sleeping in your tent listening to the breeze, etc. But the bear you hear is your spouse – wake up!
  • When someone does a Search on the web for “backpacking” and your email address shows up.

Compiled from posts to the AT-L mailing list [see http://www.backcountry.net/] in late 1998 on the topic, “You might be a hiker if…” The posts were compiled by list-member Val Henderson and posted on the web at http://www.duke.edu/%7Evlh1/haa.html — a site that has disappeared into the bytes of time.

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2 Responses to Hikers Anonymous Association

  1. TJ aka Teej says:

    That was TEN years ago?? My, time really does fly!

    * if you find an M&M while cleaning out an old backpack, and eat it without trying to estimate how long it’s been in there.

  2. skeeter says:

    I have to plead “guilty”!

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