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5 Items You Need to Survive ‘The Last of Us’ (Hiking Edition)

Posted by Erika Haugen-Goodman at Mar 08, 2023 12:01 PM |
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All the info you need to endure and survive a fungal takeover. (Hint: As a hiker, you're most of the way there.)

Fungus. It’s all around us (or among us, if you will). From yeast and mold to the mushrooms we see out on hikes, these incredible organisms are often forgotten about … until it’s too late (cue thunderous drumbeat). If you’ve been watching “The Last of Us” on HBO or have played the games, you might be thinking about the world a little differently, and wondering how you would survive if the fungus takes over.

I think that, in a world where fungi turned people into infected monsters, hikers would fare exceptionally well. After all, hikers already know about the Ten Essentials. A slight adjustment, and you're all ready to survive as a hiker in this apocalyptic fungus wasteland (cue another dramatic drumbeat).

Mushrooms on a log in forest
Look around on your next hike. You might find that the fungus has already won. Photo by Ralph Radford.

1. Footwear

Let’s start with the basics. To make it out alive in a world where fungi is king, we’re going to need a good pair of shoes. Sneaking through the woods with clickers everywhere? You’re gonna need sure footing and the only way to do that is to wear the proper equipment. I personally use trail runners, but I’m switching teams for this one and saying that a good pair of boots is probably going to be a better choice for survival … but then again, what if I need to escape from a pack of runners? The debate never ends between trail runners and boots, but either way, you'll have a well-thought-out footwear choice. 

2. A map

Next up on the list is a map — ideally a paper one that doesn’t rely on your phone working or GPS. Let’s be real, in a world where fungus has taken over, it’s unlikely you’ll have 5G service (and to be doubly real, we often don’t have that out in the backcountry already). 

3. A good walking stick (or poles)

I realize that hiking poles are polarizing (Get it? Polar, like pole? Ha ha ha!), but they can do a few things in a "Last of Us" scenario. First, they help us keep our footing in uncertain terrain, but they can also be an excellent self-defense tool. Infected getting too close? Give them a good bonk on their fungus-y noggin. Or, better yet, think of all the fun you could have prodding at fungus spores with them! 

4. Pedro Pascal

Never leave home without him. He’s every essential in the Ten Essentials. I don’t feel like this needs to be explained further and I will not be taking questions at this time. 

5. Sun protection

Okay, look. I realize there are a thousand things we could probably list before this in a fungus doomsday scenario but hear me out. If you get sunburned to a crisp, someone might mistake you for an infected and then you’d be the one getting bonked with hiking poles, not the other way around. I once had a sunburn so bad I looked like leather mixed with meatloaf. It was the worst. So the last thing I want when avoiding fungal spores is the constant reminder of forgetting sunscreen and a hat.

Obviously, we could add a few things to this list, but it’s a good start. What would you add to a "Last of Us" hiking list? I know I’ll be looking for inspiration this weekend for the season finale. Enjoy, and more importantly, endure and survive.