Hello fall! The weather has finely begun to cool down and the foliage is starting to change to its gorgeous autumnal hues. You want to make the most of it and go hiking, but how do you share the trail with all those other lovers of the outdoors? Let me fill you in on brushing up your hiking etiquette.
Here are some trail manners to remember:
THE GOLDEN RULE
Treat other trail users how you want to be treated is the most important when brushing up on your hiking etiquette.
RIGHT OF WAY
STEP ASIDE ON THE SLOPES
If you are hiking down a slope and see hikers on their way up, step aside to let them pass. It is polite to let those making a vertical ascent (and burning more calories) to have the right away. If those hiking up want a break, they will wave you on to keep going and they will step aside.
HIERARCHY ON THE TRAIL
You might not just run into other hikers on the trail, there might also be horses and their riders, and bikers. In terms of hierarchy, it’s horses first (try to avoid startling them by speaking to the rider, not making loud noises or quick movements), hikers second, and bikers third.
MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN
STAY TO THE RIGHT, PASS TO THE LEFT
Hiking etiquette is quite similar to driving a car. Try to stay to the right of the trail and if you need to pass someone going the same way as you move to the left. But make sure to speak up to your fellow hikers, a simple (and polite) “on your left” will suffice, but you could also say “hey there, can I get around you?” will do the job.
SAY HELLO TO OTHER HIKERS
Keep the trail positive, a “hello” or “good morning/afternoon” will always go a long way with fellow hikers.
If you are hiking where the weather could change abruptly or you’re backpacking, chatting with fellow hikers is not only about being friendly but can also relate to your safety. You can ask about trail conditions ahead or make a link to someone if you become overdue. The only exception to stopping is if someone makes you feel unsafe, then keep moving, pull out your cell phone if you have one, or join a group if you are hiking alone.
LEAVE NO TRACE
Always practice Leave No Trace principles: Leave rocks, vegetation, and artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy.
STAY ON THE TRAIL
Don’t step off the trail unless you are yielding as mentioned before (and that is only one small step off the trail). If you go off trail, you can disturb the habitat and damage or kill the species that live in that environment.
DO NOT DISTURB WILDLIFE
Just as you need your space, they need theirs. Additionally, some parks have regulations for a certain distance that you must keep between yourself and wildlife. Be aware of your surroundings and safely view wildlife.
ENJOY THE OUTDOORS
KEEP YOUR PHONE IN YOUR PACK
Take a couple of photos to remember the gorgeous scenery, but don’t go overboard. Keep your phone in your pack (turned off or on airplane mode) to save your battery and enjoy the outdoors.
Enjoy yourself and I hope to see you out there!
Read more of Kirsten’s blogs here and happy #wildbumming!
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