It’s a beautiful morning for a hike. You started the day with a hearty stack of flapjacks and feel ready to hit the trail. As you lace up your shoes at the trailhead, you notice the sweet smell of pine and feel the cool temperatures of the crisp mountain air. Conditions couldn’t be more perfect as you start your ascent. Within minutes, you’re overwhelmed by a familiar, but not so pleasant smell that makes the crisp mountain air not so crisp anymore. It doesn’t take long to spot it, a pile of dog poop in the middle of the trail.
We hate to be the “bear”-er of bad news, but poor etiquette – like not picking up after your dog – makes it harder for others to enjoy the outdoors. While there are many guidelines to follow when it comes to trail etiquette, here are four quick tips to get started on being a better nature buddy so we can all enjoy the outdoors.
Uphill Traffic Has the Right of Way
- If you’re travelling downhill, stop and move aside to let uphill traffic pass.
- You may find you have more energy to pass others headed up the mountain if you started your day with Kodiak Cakes, just try not to spook them. Instead, let them know you’re coming and ask to pass.
- If you are traveling uphill alone (or in a small group) and approach a large group, it’s easier to just swallow your ego, step aside, and let the larger group pass.
Bikers vs. Hikers vs. Horses
- Bikes yield to people — always. However, stay on your toes because bikes move fast and have a harder time stopping (especially on blind corners). If you feel like it’s easier for you to stop in order to help a biker out and not lose momentum (especially if they’re traveling uphill), don’t hesitate to move out of the way and let them pass.
- Horses are big animals that can get sacred pretty easily. So, hikers and bikers should always yield to horses to protect yourself and the animal while on the trail.
Pet Dogs (or Bears)
Keep your four-legged friend leashed or always under command while hiking. When someone approaches, step aside with your pooch and let them know they’re friendly. Keep your dog on the trail and ALWAYS pick up after them (and carry their poop bags with you), #leavenotrace. Only bring dogs where they are permitted, and if it’s up in the air — just leave ‘em home to be safe.
Music or No Music?
There’s a time and a place for the Billboard Hot 100, but the woods ain’t it. If you want to play music or take a call on the trail, just keep in mind most folks want peace and quiet in the great outdoors to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Use headphones if you can but keep one ear open help keep you aware of your surroundings.
When it’s all said and done, be respectful to others who are also enjoying the great outdoors and always use common sense on your adventures; don’t forget to pack enough water, plenty of snacks, and a positive attitude.
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