It’s the fitness trend that all of Adelaide seems to have embraced whole-heartedly; climbing Mount Lofty. Sure, it’s not as challenging as Everest (though if you tackle it after a big night out it certainly feels like it is), but just as busy! With many of us embracing healthier lifestyles, it’s no surprise that you’ll meet all kinds of characters when you tackle the mount. If you’ve ever made it to the top you might have been lucky enough to encounter some of the people on my list…
1. The Lorna Jane Brigade
Those girls that drive you absolutely insane. You’ll say you hate them but only because you’re so damned jealous of them. They’re perfectly prepared, head to toe in brand name gym wear. Their clothes look as if it’s never been worn before, yet somehow their fitness levels are streets ahead of yours. Featuring a full face of make-up, without a bead of sweat in sight, their hair is perfectly coiffed and even though it’s just past daybreak, they’ve got the kind of chirpy attitude that suggests they’ve been up for hours. You’ll without a doubt meet them in a group (as it’s in their nature to travel in packs). Only 50 meters from the top, as you’re nearing a state not far off death, covered head to toe in sweat, they’ll breezily power past you, leaving only the sweet aroma of brilliance in their wake. They’ll leave you asking three questions; Who are they? Are they even human? How do I become one?
2. The runners
These guys and gals are the epitome of fitness – they probably didn’t even drive to Waterfall Gully, I bet they ran from their town house in the city and will run up and down lofty twice in the time that it takes you just to reach the top. They may be wearing those barefoot running shoes that look more like a pair of flippers but somehow, despite their odd choice of footwear; you’re still eating their dust. Think these people are an urban myth? They exist. I once met a guy who ran the mount three times in the time it took me to walk it – that certainly took the shine off of my pride that day. Take comfort in one thing and one thing alone – running is hell on your joints, they may look impressive now but that shine will wear off as they hobble from place to place in years to come…
3. The ‘natural goddess’
There are parallels between this girl and the those mentioned in point one, however this stunning creature tends to be a solo traveller. You’ll see her curiously wearing a maxi dress, a stark contrast to her fellow climbers, clad in tight fitting gym pants and baggy tops. If you’re lucky, you may even spot one wearing flowers woven into her flowing hair. Her choice in footwear is usually questionable but you’re secretly envious of those glamorous eco sandals she’s sporting – that is until you remember the blisters they’ll be causing as she makes her descent. Her kind will usually be found somewhere along the bottom of the track – it is not known if they have ever actually made it to the top…
4. The skinny jean clad lads
Usually dragged along by a much more sensibly dressed female partner, they may be on a date (early days for that relationship indeed). We all know that skinny jeans provide no room for movement and are therefore certainly not ideal for tackling the climb. It won’t be long before he’s in pain or at the very least, severe discomfort. Regardless of how much your feet hurt, his whole body is hurting more.
5. The tourists
Usually they come in groups and there are two kinds: the desperately underprepared or the furiously over prepared. Keen to see kangaroos and koalas in their natural habitat they’re either kitted out in full hiking boots and carrying a huge digital SLR or they’re casually strolling along on the clothes they found on top of their suitcase this morning, with no idea what challenges lie ahead…
6. The backpackers
Similar but totally different to the tourists. They can easily be spotted wearing the cutest little baby doll dresses you’ve seen this side of the hemisphere, paired with hiking boots and frilly topped socks – inspired by outfits the celebs were sporting at Glastonbury. These blonde haired babes know how to make hiking look chic. Never under prepared, their backpacks contain all the essentials and then some, while the cameras around their necks are constantly seeking the next glimpse of wildlife to capture. Keep your boyfriend on a leash around these stunners but if they do you wrong, know that revenge is simple – just tell them to watch out for drop bears and see them squirm!
7. The furiously under prepared
So you thought Havaianas were appropriate footwear? Just….go home.
8. The football team
Once again there are plenty of sub categories that could occur here but because it’s easier if we just pick one, so let’s just call them ‘eye candy’. In addition to the obvious benefits of the Lofty climb (increased fitness, inflated self worth and some great photos for Instagram) these guys are here for your own sweet relief. Sure, you might not be looking your best but remember ladies, you’re not here to pick up, you’re here to conquer a mount (Lofty, that is…) and if you happen to encounter a couple of great views along the way then that’s just a bonus!
9. The casual climbers
This is where I fit it. There aren’t many things that I’m casual about in life but when it comes to hiking, I’ll admit that I couldn’t really care either way. The views great (see point 8…) and I appreciate the added exercise to my weekly routine but really, I’m just in it so I can earn my post-climb lunch at Argos. I’ll be drowning in sweat for a majority of the way up (maybe even close to tears for the final steep incline) and I’ll be reduced to crawling from place to place the following day but give it a month and I’ll have forgotten about the pain and be at it again!
10. The grey warriors
This is who I want to be in 30 or so years. They’re prepared for any weather and take the entire hike in their stride. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve completed the Heysen trail more times than I’ve had my hair done this year (and I really like going to the hairdresser!) Fitter than most twenty-somethings, these golden oldies are striding along, hiking pole in hand; the energy with which they tackle the mount will make you regret those tequila shots you downed the night before more than you already do…
Did you make the list or did I miss someone? Let me know – and I’ll keep an eye out for you when I tackle Lofty next!