Spot the trekker.

A leech-bitten wet hike. Nepal, June 2018.

Let me first convey to my readers that our concerted effort is required to clear off the current haze shrouding our lives that has been created by the COVID-19 virus, and I advise everyone to please stay indoors until this ordeal passes.

Anyway! On a lighter note, keeping in mind the numerous social gatherings that we would participate in and organise in the near future, there are variegated mental activities that you can make your brain undertake while being amidst a motley of people (provided you’re interested in that sort of thing, of course).

Your eyes can inconspicuously roam around among a multitude of constantly changing human expressions and body language. While engaging in this delightful work, you might even spot someone exhibiting high degrees of hiker personality!

A great storyteller: I think this is an essential attribute and you inevitably get to learn about the person’s activities. This is because your ears and head will get flooded with an endless influx of mountain tales or personal experiences that he or she had first-hand, narrated with scintillating eyes, a quickened heartbeat and dramatic gesticulations. A good mountaineer or trekker intrinsically becomes an amazing storyteller (despite the fact that I am a quiet sort).

Excessively sensitive to proper waste disposal: See that guy carefully folding up his paper plate, taking a break from the spicy conversation and looking for a garbage bin? Or that girl picking up those crumpled plastic bottles that she accidentally stepped on while dancing and throwing them in a bin? Well that might register as positive.

A strapping physique: A good trekker usually climbs simultaneously as well, so using solely one’s fingers to pinch and get a grip on tiny holds on a boulder to pull up one’s body against the drag of gravity, injects quite a load of strength in one’s hands, arms and shoulders. Thus your guy has to be incredibly fit, and that handshake might sting and shake you out of your reverie.

Always oozing a cool and calm vibe: Well, spending your days in harsh conditions on a rugged and cold glacier and taking care to put out your sleeping bags and wet gear to dry within the short sunlit time before it begins to rain again, mould your inner spirit into a peaceful entity. So that ever-smiling face trying to snuff out the increasing tension in a group debate might be the hiker you are looking for.

Visible bruises: You need to observe from up close to see that dead dark skin peeling off from the nose and cheeks caused by sunburn, or those little painful stubs of hardened or torn skin beneath the fingers created by intense climbing. This would suggest a very recent and fresh bout of adventure.  

Simply a really good human being: It is unlikely that you will ever get to meet a mean trekker or mountaineer. Most of us are naturally equipped with inherently benevolent and hospitable attitudes. So a good hiker wouldn’t really abandon you in a dangerous situation and sneak away with his or her own safety in mind.

Well those were a few points that I thought of. Please tell me if you have more ideas!