Mountain Man Dating Tips
● By Christina Freeman
By Apec Noil
She calls herself a mountain girl, so I ask her out. That doesn’t mean dinner at a fancy restaurant – that’s a city girl date. I want to see if she can hang, deal with adversity, pain, sweat and dirt. Is her glass half empty or half full? Is she set in her ways or open-minded? Does she seek adventure and new experiences or does the unknown scare her? Can she roll with it when plans don’t work out or does that ruin her day? What I really want to know is if, like myself, she loves and appreciates life. All of this may seem like a lot to ask for on a first date. But is it? Not necessarily. A good wilderness hike can often show you much more about someone then 100 dinners ever could.
At a dinner you talk, tell your date what you want to about yourself, and although body language goes a long way, ultimately you’re taking her words on faith. Without adversity, it’s pretty easy for the majority of us, to fake it, most of the time. Unless the waiter drops a plate of food on your date, or her ex is out at the same eatery with his new love, there is little chance you will see much of her real personality over food and drink.
The Devil’s Causeway is my personal favorite when it comes to the date hike. A moderate hike with amazing views and some challenges to reach the geological phenomenon at 11,800 fee that is The Devil’s Causeway. Starting at the end of Stillwater Road in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, you can take the shorter, six-mile out -and -back. Alternatively, hike the whole 10-mile loop. If hiked clockwise, there is an extra incentive to cross the causeway, for you arrive after you have already hiked seven miles, and then must cross it for a three-mile return. Otherwise it’s another seven miles back the way you came.
Once arriving at the causeway, your nerves are tested. Two opposing walls of rock have been eroding towards each other until all that remains between them is an elevated strip of rock ranging from four to eight feet wide for about 50 feet. Eventually the walls will meet, forming a notch that may be impassible without ropes and serious rock climbing skills. It could happen in 100 years or it could happen next year. So get it while you still can. Although not a difficult traverse, many will use their hands and knees while others will not cross at all for fear of the deadly drop on either side.
It is important to remember, this is not just a test of your date, it’s a test of yourself too.. Your cold beers on ice in a freezer bag, the baguette, brie and smoked meat might prove you are a Casanova to some, but if your date is gluten-intolerant and a vegetarian, you will win no points.
If you are smart, you have come prepared and figured out a few things about her before the date. What is her drink of choice? What does she like to eat? Did you bring snacks for the way up? When it started raining unexpectedly, did you have an extra poncho for her? If not did you offer up your own? Or did you forget altogether? There is as much that your date can learn about you as you can of her. So don’t oversell yourself but be prepared with the essentials for a backcountry hike, and if you’re lucky, you both pass the test and she packed an extra poncho and your favorite beer.