Have you ever thought about the lack of respect people have for hiking anymore? With the whole Pandemic, more people began to get outside and “smell the fresh air.” But none of them really seemed to know how to behave when on hikes. They were all so used to the social norms of malls, restaurants and ever their own homes, that they didn’t know what to do once they stepped foot onto a trail.
I wanted to share some of the top tips for Hiking Etiquette. Let’s call this Intro To Hiking 101. First let me define what hiking is and clear us any potential confusion. Hiking is just walking, but on surfaces that are dirt, rocks or just uneven. Hiking is also walking in areas where your chances of seeing a large animal that is strong enough to eat you is much higher than anywhere else. But that’s not something you should worry about, at least not too much!
Who Has The Right of Way?
The first thing you need to understand is who has the right of way. So let’s clear that up. You should always check signage for the trail you are hiking on, and follow those signs. General rule of thumb is that hikers coming uphill have the right of way. If you’re going down the trail, step aside and give some space. Bicyclists are to yield to hikers. Keep in mind of where you’re stepping when you step off the trail so that you don’t step on animals or plants.
Always Respect The Wildlife
Another crucial thing to remember is to respect any wildlife you may encounter. It’s their home after all, you wouldn’t want someone to walk through your house screaming and yelling when you’re asleep, so you shouldn’t do that to wildlife either. If you see an animal off of the trail, do not leave the trail for a closer look. You may scare it and put yourself at risk of being attacked.
Maintain Landscape of Nature
The final and most important tip to remember when hiking is to leave everything alone, especially plants and rocks. I know, there is already a path there, which is most likely man-made, but we shouldn’t disrupt nature anymore than we already have. You may think you’re building a cute rock statue but what you really did was ruin a beavers home or crush an entire colony of ants. Picking plants can lead to some nasty rashes if you’re allergic to them. Insects also love to hide in plants so you never know when one will get angry at you for uprooting it’s home and bite you.
I’m an advocate for hiking. It is good for the mind, body and soul. We learn so much about the world and so much about ourselves when we are out on a good hike. But don’t get carried away from being a good human while you’re out exploring. Now that you know this information too, make sure you keep others in check if you see them not acting in ways they should.