NOTE: I actually wrote this post months and months ago, but I never published it because I wasn’t sure how it would be received. Then last week, Caro from Lotsafreshair posted this article about people blaring music from their backpacks on the trail and it renewed my grumbliness, so here I go…
I’m about to get ranty. You’ve been warned. I’ll try and make it quick, though.
Inspired by someone tweeting an article on the subject the other day, I decided to do a Google search for the term “hiking etiquette” (yes, including the quotation marks)…
9,340 search results! I nearly fell off my chair.
Before I go on, I’ll say two things… Firstly, I do realise I’ve just made that number up to 9,341 (but, look, this one is just different, okay?).
Secondly, I do accept that there needs to be education around certain things. Some people might not understand the finer details of Leave No Trace, but I don’t even think of that as etiquette. Etiquette is about being polite to other people.
Which brings me to my one golden rule of etiquette for hikers… Don’t be a jerk.
It really is as simple as that.
I’d hope that by adulthood, most humans would be well aware of how to respect other humans. As hikers, why would we need a specific set of rules?
Who should have right of way when passing on a mountain trail? Can’t you just use common sense? Communicate with (and be helpful to) each other? We don’t need a blanket rule to tell us if the person going uphill or downhill should go first. What if one person or the other is buggered, and dying for an excuse to stop for a rest?
Sticking to the left (or right in other countries) on the trail? Seriously? Hikers don’t move at 60 kilometres per hour, and one would hope there aren’t so many on a trail at one time that we need to use road rules. Injuries from head-on hiking trail collisions will be minimal anyway. Don’t stress.
Should you acknowledge people on the trail when you pass them? Of course you bloody should. For a start, we’re all humans. I think that means you at least owe each other a friendly nod. Why not stop and have a chat, though? You’ve immediately got a whole bunch of things in common. You might have just come across your new best friend.
Should you play loud music from your electronic device, when sharing a remote campground with other hikers or while walking along the trail? Well, what do you think? Start by asking yourself if there are other people within earshot. If there are, do you think they came to this wild place to hear your sick beats? No. They did not.
I could go on, but I’m sure by now you get my drift. I’ll just sum up in the words of a great man, who said…
Do you disagree with my rant? Think we need a strict set of rules for hikers? I’m always ready and willing to stand corrected. Please let me know by commenting below.