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Hiking Trail Etiquette

Recently, Evan and I have been doing a little hiking in our new province and I’ve got to say, it pretty much rocks (pun intended…Sorry for the Tuesday-morning-after-a-long-weekend-humour). We have learned, through both experience and our trusty new hiking guide, that there is something called trail etiquette. Heard of it? We hadn’t, but thankfully our mothers trained us well (i.e. basic manners) and saved us from making many a faux pas.

Next time you are out hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or whatever else you do on trails, please remember the following:

1. Do not listen to your Iphone or Ipod so that everyone in a 20 meter radius can hear it. I dont’ like your music. Neither does the couple a head of you, nor does the red squirrel trying to catch a few z’s. Seriously, you’re being a total jerk.

2. You don’t have to say ‘hello’ to everyone you pass on the trail. Some people don’t want to talk and that’s OK. I have found this a hard one to accept, but it’s getting easier and easier. Plus, it saves me a lot of energy. Smiling is OK, but not necessary.

3. Talking at the summit is a definite faux pas. I learned this the hard way. We were chatting with another couple, being perfectly cordial, but the lady sitting close to us got up and said to her husband “let’s go to the other side”. I didn’t think I was being loud, but according to Evan, I have a country voice (i.e. very loud). Apparently, it was my fault the lady’s blissful moment with nature was interrupted. I am sorry lady. Lesson for Morgan and all current/future hikers: keep your mouth shut, whisper or talk quietly if necessary (yelling is only OK if you’ve fallen close to the edge and need assistance), and allow others to enjoy the view in silence.

4. Don’t litter. I mean, come on people. This is a no-brainer.

5. Leave rap music videos for the street. Yesterday, we arrived upon a fairly strange scene at the top of Yates Mountain. There was a rap music video being filmed. Yes, mountains, scenic vistas, and ravens are exactly what I associate with rap music. Not cars, massive necklaces, and hoochie mamas.

6. Don’t feed the chipmunks. I know they’re cute, but they’re wild animals. And wild animals should be left alone.

7. Be quiet. I don’t care if you’re hiking with 6 close friends, keep it down. Remember, the trail doesn’t belong to you (or me for that matter), but good ol’ mother nature. Be respectful of both nature and your fellow hikers.

8. Pick up your dog’s poop. While I stepped in and got my backpack, shirt and hand covered in the poop of a small animal on the weekend (a story for another time), I also noticed  a number of little presents left behind by canine friends. I know it’s nature and all, but seriously, no one wants to step in your dogs poop. Remember, the poop and scoop rule applies to all environments.

I am sure there are more ‘rules of engagement’ when it comes to hiking and I will add them as I learn. For now, please try hard to abide by the above suggestions.

I believe a “Happy trails to you…” is more than appropriate as I sign off for the day.

M

 

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