I have finally convinced my brother and our good friend to go hiking with me. I love hiking and being outside as much as possible, but they seem to hate it. How can I make our hiking trip fun and more enjoyable for them?
I had the privilege on introducing the outdoors to quite a few people in my life, lately focusing on my wife and child; and from my experience there are a few simple things that increase the chance they might enjoy it:
- Keep them comfortable - make sure they have as little physical discomfort as possible as that makes an immediate excuse for not enjoying. Make sure they have the right clothes for the weather, that you carry enough food, water and treats and that your breaks are in a comfortable setting to sit and enjoy.
- Make the walk short but with a very clear goal: climb a peak, reach a waterfall, etc. Another part of it is to try and find a circular trail so they don't feel they are "going back".
- Pack a handful of things they don't expect: maybe a few cold beers for when you reach your mid walk goal, an excellent coffee kit for some really nice coffee with fresh pastries and so on.
- If possible on the trail, find a perceived dangerous point that will give them something to talk about later on and will become their "type 2 fun" to think back on. This can be walking on a small exposed ledge, crossing a river etc. Just make sure you can keep all of you safe there.
The trick is to think about all the things that you are happy to grind your teeth and ignore in the outdoors as part of the bigger picture while hiking and eliminate them as potential problems.
Good luck in getting them to join. If you do succeed the feeling is great!
How can I make our hiking trip fun and more enjoyable for them?
A lot of people have fairly irrational reasons they don't like the outdoors.
Bugs, animals, uncomfortable sleeping (camping), food choices, fear of heights, being out of shape, etc.
All these have ways you can address them.
If you are getting resistance try to understand why they don't want to go with. You may even be able to do this now, asking something like "what are you looking forward to and apprehensive about?" and try to understand this. This will help you understand why people do not want to go or do not enjoy things.
At the end of the day some folks will just not want to and have no reason other than "because." You can't really do anything there.
You can't really force anybody to like anything. When you try so you will most likely discourage them even more. What you can try to do is convice them to give it a shot (what you did) and prepare the trip so you have a nice time. Would be a big put off if it starts raining and you aren't well equipped. Just to mention some part.
There are lots of helpful topics (I think you plan to hike and stay overnight in a camp), e.g.
- First time camping, need advice
- Activities at the campsite
- How far is a reasonable distance for someone to hike on their first trip?
- How should I pack for a week of backpacking in the rain?
If you read the answers in those and other topics you have a good idea what's important for new hikers/campers. Try to be really well prepared and enjoy your time. Then you can only hope your friends will do the same and stick to it :)
Heh this question is similar to: How can I convince my friend to become vegetarian. You can't simple as that. But you can show them another dimension of life while hiking or for example eating vegi food, and if they are in the state of changes they would love some life changing decisions to be made.
When I was young my father always asked me to go with him on some hiking, but I always say no, because I was not in to it. But now that I'm little bit older and wiser, I see living and spending time in the nature as another dimension of life that I want to live. So in the case of your friends your best shot is that you showed them another dimension of life or happynes.
For me the best reasons to spend more time in the nature are:
- To softening my heart.
- See that the most beautiful elements of the universe are not man made.
- Feel that nature don't need human and its perfect as the way it is.
- Finding that lost mother bond with mother nature and aware my self that I'm her lost child.
- And to become more like a tree, if somebody throw at you a rook you should still give him a shadow when it's hot, and your fruts when he wish one.
How can I make our hiking trip fun and more enjoyable for them?
I've been doing hiking for years and love it, but also learned that not all hiking trips are equally fun. In order to improve the experience you want to:
- Don't hike in rainy weather. Even a few raindrops can sour the groups mood, especially if they don't have good equipment. Rain hiking is for experienced hikers only.
- Choose hikes with a good view throughout the hike. As an example, here in Western Washington most hikes consist of going through the forest for hours with zero interesting views (besides the forest itself, which gets boring) and then a good view at the very top. But there are awesome hikes such as Skyline Trail in Mt Rainier National Park, which are located above the tree line and thus get you amazing views the whole time. It makes a big difference.
- Try to find loop hikes or point-to-point hikes. Simple round trips can get boring as it feels like you're not seeing anything new. For point-to-point hikes you need either two cars or a shuttle service, but its definitely worth it.
- Put your slowest hikers in the front. A lot of frustration is caused by slower participants overexerting themselves and then wanting to leave early or whining the whole way. Put them at the front and walk as slow as they do.
- Bring extra water, sunscreen, sun glasses, hats, puff jackets and bug spray. If I'm joined by newbie hikers I always assume they'll forget these things so I keep extras in my car to borrow.
- Promise everyone an awesome meal after the hike is done. The staple in my group is a hot pot place that everyone loves - its often helpful to say "don't worry, we'll be having hot pot in no time!"
- Don't take people who are unlikely to make it. As an example, I always ask people if their knees are in good condition - if they say "no/so-so", I ask them to wait until full recovery. You don't want to have to turn around after 15 minutes because your buddy can no longer walk. No need to push beyond your limits on whats supposed to be a fun day out.