The Kinds of People You Meet Outdoors

Kinds of PeopleRemember in high school where everyone had a stereotype?  While you were probably, like me, completely in opposition to the idea that you had a “classification,” you know deep down that you probably could be pigeonholed, right?  Well along the same lines, there are always certain people that you can find when you venture into the great outdoors.  For better or worse, you’re all in it together.  There is one characteristic that all of these “sub-types” have in common though—happiness.  It is hard to go out for a day of outdoor recreation and not see people in high spirits.  Which kind of person are you?

Park Rangers
These fine folks are found hanging around many of our country’s national parks, forests, and monuments. If you don’t recognize them by the classic outfits of tans and forest greens topped off by the same awesome hat that Smokey the Bear wears, you can definitely find them helping people out.  They are the ambassadors of the outdoors, the informants of the monuments.  I have personally been perpetually surprised to find them all over the place, including at the top of Mt Katahdin in Maine, making sure that people are taking the correct route across knife’s edge.  It makes me wonder-does a job like that really require you to climb a mountain EVERY day?  That’s…maybe the coolest job I’ve ever heard of.

This breed of outdoors-er can be found braiding flowers into their hair, walking around barefoot, and talking to animals.  This is the epitome of  “connecting with nature,” and this person feels most at home frolicking through an open field, living off the land.  This person scoffs at the idea of eating meat, using or consuming anything completely un-natural (sometimes including deodorant), and can possibly tell you about the brief stint they had living in a tree house to learn how to sing from birds.  Very cool, chill people, hippies can often be found meditating on a tree trunk and spreading good will, peace, and love across the land.

The Outdoor Hardcore
This person may possibly have been born in a barn.  Or maybe straight into the claws of a mother grizzly.  Seemingly half man (or woman), half animal, this person has the uncanny knack of being kick-ass at EVERYTHING outdoors.  At any point during they day, they can tell you exactly what cardinal direction you are facing without any effort, they know the backcountry like the back of their hand, and that scar on their forearm?  It’s probably from wrestling an alligator.  For fun.  They are the type who subsists off of a hearty diet of beef jerky, backcountry chili, and craft beers.  As a matter of fact, these hardy people could probably drink you under the table while telling you about that one time where they climbed three fourteeners in a row in the snow wearing a light sweater without a whole monstrosity of technical climbing gear, simply to squirrel-suit-glide down each of them.

The Enthusiast
Similar to the Outdoor Hardcore, If you went over to this person’s house, you wouldn’t be able to take three steps without seeing a different nature painting or a hung set of antlers.  Whether or not they actually hunt is irrelevant, this person is in entirely infatuated with the outdoors and they get all antsy and excited when the topic is brought up.  They own all the newest gear—they probably have an REI credit card and are not afraid to use it (What?  The more you spend, the more dividend you get back, right???)  They are always talking or planning about their next adventure, though sometimes tend to think about it more than actually put their plans into action.  When outside, though, these people are awesome companions, because they are the happiest people ever.  And, you can be sure that you will be entirely comfortable and happy as well, because they probably brought lots of yummy hiking snacks and have an extra lightweight waterproof sweatshirt, just in case it gets a little chilly.

The Scientist
This person looks at the outdoors from a very technical perspective.  Instead of hiking through a forest of green, they are walking by an endless sea of scientific names and interesting species.  As a matter of fact, you might be able to hear them a mile away, exclaiming the word “FASCINATING!”  A very interesting companion to adventure with, there will never be a dull moment.  Unless you don’t like hearing about the mating habits of earthworms and a regalement of how plants perform photosynthesis.   It is always better to know about the environment and the world we live in, so I personally would suggest that, unless you are “the scientist” yourself, you keep one close.

You can often find this person at the base of a mountain or in a scenic area with an easel and a paintbrush, creatively capturing the scene.  They could also be found crouching in a bush for hours waiting to capture the perfect photograph of a family of deer.  This outdoor-er is in love with the beauty of nature as opposed to the adventure of it.  The gear they carry is always in colors, pens, pencils, and pictures.  They could make a rotting log look like a work of art, and inspire a level of jealousy in the idea that they can often times make a living out of working outdoors because of their talents, while you only get to go out in your (very little) spare time.

Conjure this mental image: the American tourist.  This person doesn’t even look a LITTLE equipped to be outside, climbing a mountain.  Are they wearing blue jeans?!  Their shoes aren’t waterproof.  Wielding a point and shoot digital camera, they have decided that this trip will be perfect in the family album at the next reunion.  It seems like they might have lost their way from the hotel.  They make “Enthusiasts” nervous.  Uncannily, and perhaps with beginners luck, these people have been known to make it through harrowing and dangerous situations with little preparation, and still survive to tell the tale.