On a sunny Saturday morning, many of Cape Town’s hiking trails are buzzing with activity. You’ll encounter different types of hikers and although not all of them can be pigeonholed, there are six types you’re bound to find.
The first time you see it you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor—while you’re sweating up a 45-degree hill someone will casually come sprinting past you as if they’re immune to gravity. Sometimes they’ll even have a baby on their back to add insult to injury. Give it a minute, you’ll get used to it. The best way to respond is to politely get out of Usain Bolt’s way and ask your party to do the same.
The family funday
Many a happy Jack Russel has seen the top of Lion’s Head or Table Mountain. Oh, how their tiny legs make it look so easy! People hiking with their kids, fur babies, and friends-that-count-as-family is a regular Cape Town occurrence. These groups are often more open to conversation and hike for the fun of it, so you can relax and help carry a dog or small child where you can.
The hopelessly under-prepared
The first rule of hiking is to question everything other hikers tell you. Sometimes they exaggerate the extent of a hike, but in most cases, they undersell the distance and effort. Their hearts are in the right place—the facts are just slightly subjective when it comes to hiking. They are usually to blame for the hikers you see in flip-flops or leather pants who were told this hike is an easy afternoon stroll. If you see any of these hikers, be kind enough to be real with them and offer some water or snacks.
The yoga posers
Selfie-sticks and people doing yoga poses for Instagram has become an everyday occurrence on the mountains. The best response is to live and let live. It might not be your thing, but there’s enough space for everyone and a quiet spot is never too far away.
The party starters
A mountaintop is a great place for a picnic or even an impromptu mini-party. A warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate on a cold morning can change your life, so a flask is a great investment. Some people are so happy to reach the summit they even trek with a bottle of bubbly. It’s all in good in the name of fun as long as you leave no trace.
Nature is a universal connector. You might not have anything in common with someone on your mountain, but here you are—on the very same mountain watching the very same sunset—and that’s special. So respect others and their space, be helpful, and lend a hand or water bottle where you can. Don’t rush it, and make sure you give way and take turns when there are lots of people waiting to go up. Most importantly, remember to breathe, have fun, and look up and marvel at everything you can see.
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