The managing editor of New West talks about how hikes become dates when people live near cool trails.

It’s true that around here, how two people work together while hiking, biking or kayaking can be a big indicator of the relationship as a whole — or your possible relationship, as it were.

Tam, who is now happily married, devised a simple test with her friend Tammy when she lived in Idaho.

“Failure of the test,” she says, is while hiking with a prospective mate, “seeing someone’s ass disappear over the hill a quarter mile ahead of you.”

Great thing about picking up a hobby late in life is you might happen to be married already and miss the high drama of male and female trying to find a walking pace they can agree upon. The author notes how she put one of her hiking dates to this test and the guy promptly walked off and left her. The guy was clever, though: he convinced he was doing it for her own good, and more dates ensued.

This reminds me of an article I read in Backpacker magazine written by a woman whose husband had persuaded her to accompany him along the 200-plus miles of the John Muir Trail in the HIgh Sierra. He spent the hike gaping in awe at nature’s wonder; she occupied her mind by counting “99 bottles of beer on the wall” down to zero over and over.

My advice to guys taking their dates hiking: slow down to slightly below her natural pace; this will trigger her nurturing, caring instinct (“poor guy, he can barely keep up with me,” she’ll tell her mom after Date One). And it has the added benefit of placing her in the position of superiority and control that she will come to possess anyway if things work out.