People who know me know that I don't mind hiking alone. In fact, one of my favorite jobs on the fire line often involves hiking around by myself with a GPS and a map. However, I appreciate good hiking partners. They can make a rainy day more fun, scare bears away, and sometimes they even have good snacks.
Here are a few characters I think everyone should have listed in their phone:
1. Speedy Suzy. Suzy hikes fast. She hikes fast up steep inclines even if she's already gone for a 6 mile run that morning. She's not super sympathetic if you're slower, and you might need to run to keep up, but ultimately you'll get fitter a lot sooner because of her pace. Plus, you'll quickly leave people a lot younger than you in the dust, which is always fun.
2. Photographer Fred. If you're the kind of person who arrives at a waterfall amid a cloud of mosquitoes, takes a brief look, and turns around, you'll eventually appreciate Fred, as he will be sure to document the moment and send you the photos you wish you had taken. While waiting for him on a trail while he composes the perfect shot can be annoying, you will appreciate it later when you look great in those photos he tagged you in.
3. Laid Back Louise. Louise is just out to have a good time. She goes with the flow, and if that means having to turn back due to snow or a bear in the area, she doesn't fret. She goes with the safer option. Hanging off a cliff isn't for her, which helps you feel like less of a wimp if you're scared too. She's OK with moseying down a short trail or hanging out on a beach. She admits it when tired or just not into it. With Louise, you always have time to smell the roses (or pick the huckleberries).
4. Survivalist Steve. Steve believes there will actually be a zombie apocalypse someday. He keeps an arsenal in his house and a bugout bag ready to go. Whether you buy into this or not is your choice, but on the trail he is invaluable. Need a warming fire? He can build one by rubbing two sticks together. Forgot an important item? He's got two. He can splint a leg, tell you which berries to eat, and pick out the best route through a thick forest. Lost? Forget it, he doesn't get lost.
Is there a hiking partner I've missed? What about the ones NOT to hike with, BearBait Bob and Whiny Wilma for example? Are you like any of the people above? If so, you must be a great hiking companion!