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shades of blue
10-01-2004, 08:00
After reading our very interesting and lengthy drunk and disorderly thread...I thought about new people and trail etiquette. A lot of people know the basics, some people throw it out the window and do what they want. Some people really have no idea about how to behave on the trail. I'm curious
What are your opinions of some of the most important trail behaviors on the AT? I think this would be a good thread for newbies, and even us people who aren't so new, but not exactly on the level of some of our "venerable" super hikers. :) So....what do you think?

Blue Jay
10-01-2004, 08:18
I think the two most important ones are, treat others the way you wish to be treated and Leave No Trace (as much as possible).

Jack Tarlin
10-01-2004, 12:33
Shades:

Great idea for a new thread.

Blue Jay:

Great post.

Additional comments:

A Key word is respect---Respect other hikers. You'll be sharing a lot with them for months: Sheters, hostels, facilities, in fact, the entire Trail itself. Don't adopt the mindset that YOUR needs, desires, requirements, expectations are any more important than anyone else's. They're not. Oh, and respecting other hikers also means respecting ALL hikers, not just other thru-hikers. Don't get a swollen head about what you're doing. Thru-hikers aren't gods.


In addition to other hikers, respect the people you meet or interact with. Behave in towns. When you visit a facility or business, remember that hundreds of folks who are coming after you will need that facility to be there. Never act like you can do anything you want because you'll never be in that store or restaurant ever again. Remember that other folks will judge ALL thru-hikers based on their interaction with, and impressions of YOU. How they treat other hikers in the future depends a great deal on how impressed they were with YOU. Places that no longer welcome hikers generally have very good reasons for adopting this attitude. So watch your language in restaurants. Don't write anything in a trail register you'd be ashamed to put your real name on and have your mom see. Pay all your bills. Obey rules and regulations, even if you think they're foolish. Keep your friends in line and don't be afraid to tell them when they're out of order. Don't get to thinking that rules, regulations, and expected codes of conduct don't apply to you cause you're somehow special. You're not, or at least you're no more special and no more entitled than anyone else. When you're doing something you know is wrong or questionable, but you think it's a minor or petty issue and therefore no big deal, ask yourself, what would it be like if EVERYONE did this?

Respect the Trail itself: Do no damage. Do no harm. Leave No Trace of your passage. If you see folks doing otherwise, speak up, and in a constructive manner, try and teach them to do better. If you have the time to do some clean-up or Trail maintenance while en route, do it. You're on a 180-day vacation. Surely you can find a few hours to help a Trail crew or a hostel owner who is also a Trail maintainer. Remember that a lot of folks, nearly all volunteers, busted their asses so you could enjoy the Trail. So when you met them, thank them, and ask them if they need a hand with anything. In all cases, leave the Trail better than when you found it. The Trail, and your time on it, is a great gift. So make sure you remember this every day and act accordingly.

Millions of folks would give ANYTHING to do what thru-hikers are doing, so remember, much has been given to you; therefore, much is expected. Doing the right thing out there is really not that hard to do.

java
10-01-2004, 15:19
Good idea for a thread. I've been thinking about this issue since I stayed at one of the AMC Hut's a few weeks ago with some downright dreadful thru-hikers.
What pisses me off the most is the thru-hiker 'sense of entitlement'. Just because you walked to X from Y, doesn't mean you're due any special considerations. This seems to be especially important in a place like the Huts because the thru-hikers and the paying guests are sharing a space (unlike a hiker-only hostel).
When I was at the Hut a few weeks ago the thru-hikers showed up after dark expecting dinner and work-for-stay, but dinner had been served. The croo made them several rounds of pasta (delaying their clean-up and pre-bedtime chores), and told them they'd have to do their work in the morning because it was almost lights out. Mind you, there were at least eight thru-hikers doing work-for-stay. More than the croo is required to oblige. All they did was piss and moan about how they wanted to get an early start in the morning, and doing the work in the morning was inconvient.
If you're not aware the paying guests pay at least $70 bucks to stay in the hut, so they are entitled to certain things the hikers are not. If you do two hours of work-for-stay at the rate the croo members make (minimum wage) that equal out to about $12 bucks. So, you get more than what you 'pay' for if you have a bed and two meals (dinner and breakfast) in exchange for two hours of scrubbing.
The croo is paid to serve the guests, not the hikers, so stay out of their way. Croo members told me horror stories about hikers walking into the kitchen and just helping themselves to anything they wanted. That's not how it works. Thru-hikers also got up early and skipped out on work all together.
Sorry, I'm rambling, and not very consise. But I guess the point is get off your high horse, thru-hiking is a choice.

Lone Wolf
10-01-2004, 15:27
Thru-hikers should pay the same as anyone else staying at the huts. I'd be pissed if I was paying big bucks and some dreadheaded trustafarian gets a bunk and chow for sweeping the floor cuz he/she is choosing to hike 2100 miles.

chknfngrs
10-01-2004, 15:30
Like A.I (Iverson fans...) "Hold My Own"

Don't worry about what everyone else says/does, but hike my own hike.

weary
10-03-2004, 15:09
Thru-hikers should pay the same as anyone else staying at the huts. I'd be pissed if I was paying big bucks and some dreadheaded trustafarian gets a bunk and chow for sweeping the floor cuz he/she is choosing to hike 2100 miles.

Lone Wolf is absolutely right -- for a change. Now if we could only get him to be equally right about the election.

Weary, who just got back from the Maine Chapter, AMC annual meeting, which reminded me again that AMC ("all my cash") folks aren't really bad -- at least those who just hike, lead trips, and try to do what's right.

BTW. It was held at an YMCA camp 20 miles from Acadia National Park, where none of the mountains are higher than 1,500 feet or so. I wonder why my joints ache.

AMC's chief scientist, Dave Publicover, was the featured speaker at the Saturday night "banquet" -- served buffet style. $15 including wine and beer. I got a trail "seat," one of those things that allow one to lean back and relax after a hard day on a trail, for having published seven chapter newsletters in the past year.

I can't imagine a long distance hiker -- or even a short distance hiker -- actually carrying one of the things. But it was a good thought.

Dave didn't tell me anything new. I had been attending the same planning meetings as he had (are you listening TJ) for the past year. But he said that though no decisions have been made about what or where to build, but that he was confident that this thing called the 100-mile wilderness would be wilder over the decades because of AMC's involvement than if they had not purchased their 37,000 acres.

BTW2. The Maine Chapter voted overwhelmingly to tell AMC that it believes the best development of the new AMC lands is the "Grafton Notch" pattern, i.e. no "huts", just leantos and tent platforms. Dave made it clear that AMC has somewhat more elaborate hopes -- but nothing that approaches TJ's worries.

Weary, who has surpassed his prior record for a long signature and felt the need to sign off again. Oh btw.....well never mind. This is long enough.

Tha Wookie
10-03-2004, 20:46
Put nothing in a fire other than natural organic materials found in the woods.

Keep food out of fires, it doesn't all burn and attracts wildlife in a negative way.

Keep fires small and sit closely.

Never have a fire on organic duff, even in snow. Use existing rings only.

Pack it in, pack it out. Don't burn it.

For God's sake don't burn your TP on the PCT or anywhere that's dry!

Learn how to make a friction fire (like bow drill) to really appreciate the significance of fire. Read some Tom Brown books about it.

Leave logs over 5-in diameter alone. They are important "nutrient banks" for forest ecology.

Flash Hand
10-03-2004, 21:30
Great thread!

What turned me off is that thru hikers think they don't need a shower even when there is one available. I heard the story that Miss Janet had to kick a thru hiker out of hostel because he smell worse than skunk and pig combined. That thru hiker rebelled Miss Janet and other's wishes to keep himself showered and clean, but said, I am a thru hikers, I don't need a shower. We really need to respect others and share the fresh and clean air to breath. I applaud Miss Janet for her courage to kick the hikers out! I will do the same if I am in her shoe.

CLEAN UP YOURSELF!!

Flash Hand :jump

Nightwalker
10-03-2004, 21:31
Leave logs over 5-in diameter alone. They are important "nutrient banks" for forest ecology.All good advice. Those of us who grew up in the mountains forget this stuff has to be taught. Thanks

Mountain Dew
10-04-2004, 05:25
*make room in bad weather in a shelter as if the person asking was your MOMMA !

*Don't sit down in a shelter and lay your gear all over the place and make others that show up have to ask you to move your gear. Move it because you are aware that it is taking up alot of room.

*your actions at a hostel should be one of respect as if you were at your grandparents house. lol

*Don't vomit at the mouth with your politics expecting others with opposing views to remain quiet.

*if you snore obscenely loud don't get mad when somebody passes skunk smelling gas right in front of you, burps like a fog horn, or stays up talking late.

*Be especially aware if your actions in town as they are the same people who pick us up when we need hitches.

*don't tell people that are going in the opposite direction that the came expect easy trail the rest of the day. ha ha ha...took me several states to stop believing that !

* only laugh till it hurts at friends that fall off of "bog logs" AFTER you ask if they are alright first !

*clean up at hostels more than your share because some hikers won't at all

*try to remind others when they break unwritten rules of behavior out there.

Tractor
10-05-2004, 19:53
I like it alot. Are we related some way?

Doctari
10-06-2004, 10:50
*make room in bad weather in a shelter as if the person asking was your MOMMA !

PLEASE!

*Don't sit down in a shelter and lay your gear all over the place and make others that show up have to ask you to move your gear. Move it because you are aware that it is taking up alot of room.

And don't grumble when they ask. You get ONE space, they asked you to vacate their One space, not move out of your space.

*your actions at a hostel should be one of respect as if you were at your grandparents house. lol

Just because YOU may never be there again, dosn't allow you to be rude. ALWAYS make them wish you would come back!! Let the hostle (or inn, motel, eatery, etc.) know how much you apreciate them, not just with words, but your actions. As Mt dew suggests:ask youself "would grandma let me do that?"

*Don't vomit at the mouth with your politics expecting others with opposing views to remain quiet.

AMEN!

*if you snore obscenely loud don't get mad when somebody passes skunk smelling gas right in front of you, burps like a fog horn, or stays up talking late.

That's why I tent 90% of the time, I snore, as do many others. Yes, you do snore, admit it & move on. Denial dosn't make it better. You shelter companions arnn't telling you that you snore to be mean or funny. You do sound like a freight train in heat. I also carry ear plugs.

*Be especially aware if your actions in town as they are the same people who pick us up when we need hitches.

Sad that line needed printing, sigh.

*don't tell people that are going in the opposite direction that the came expect easy trail the rest of the day. ha ha ha...took me several states to stop believing that !

To true.

* only laugh till it hurts at friends that fall off of "bog logs" AFTER you ask if they are alright first !

Drat, Oh, OK.

*clean up at hostels more than your share because some hikers won't at all

And shelters, along the trail, etc. Leave it cleaner than you found it.

*try to remind others when they break unwritten rules of behavior out there.

They may be ignorant (don't know better) & just need to be taught.

TREE-HUGGER
10-06-2004, 12:00
The first thing that comes to my mind is the fire ring problem. Nearly every fire ring you see has trash in it. Some of the stuff folks put in there has no way of burning to an ash. It just becomes a big nasty looking wad.

And then as said above, treat others with respect and the way you want to be treated. And I also believe that if you are a passed thru hiker, or you are in the middle of a thru hike, even more responsibility rests on your shoulders for treating those around you with respect.

bailyrosco
10-06-2004, 12:18
Shades--Great Thread and Great Info it is unfortunate that most of what is being said is common sense. Finally a thread that does not have a political overtone! What percentage of hikers do you think breaks the rules or act inappropriate on the trail?

Rain Man
10-07-2004, 14:18
*if you snore obscenely loud don't get mad when somebody passes skunk smelling gas right in front of you, burps like a fog horn, or stays up talking late.

Not sure, but I'll ask.... is this a one-way street? Or does it apply mutually and equally both ways?

Rain Man

.

Basilio
11-25-2004, 09:08
Agree completely. "The leave no trace" should perhaps become trail unwritten law. But if you ask me if one behaves decently in everyday life he will keep the line on any trail too....

The Old Fhart
11-25-2004, 10:42
I thought you might be interested in what the ATC has to say on the subject. The follow quote is from their booklet "Suggestions for Appalachian Trail Users"

This subject would seem a matter upon which comment should be totally unnecessary. Rules of ordinary courtesy and consideration for others would seem an all-sufficient guide. Unfortunately, of late there have been increasing occurrences which have seriously threatened the continuance of the goodwill of those over whose land the trail passes. Hikers must appreciate that they have no inherent right to travel in any particular area.
.
Every traveler on The Appalachian Trail should realize that he is an emissary of the Conference, that his conduct and method of procedure will be beneficial or detrimental to those who follow. Instances of assumption of privileges, reckless building of fires, bathing in forbidden waters, are illustrations of conduct which have caused serious difficulties.
Monitions should be unnecessary. Build no fire without permission. Leave no mark of your passage. Above all, leave no refuse; do not attempt to burn or bury it, carry it to some recognized place of disposal.
Again, recognize the sensibilities of those you come in contact with on the matter of too abbreviated clothing.
I should mention that I collect old A.T. books and the above quote is from their booklet dated December, 1944. Things haven't changed much since then. It all come down to common sense, treating others as you would like to be treated, and respecting the land as your own.

MOWGLI
11-25-2004, 12:08
Etiquette:

When you are descending a mountain on a trail, yield to the folks coming uphill.


Similarly, always yield to folks on horses.

Youngblood
11-25-2004, 12:20
Etiquette:

When you are descending a mountain on a trail, yield to the folks coming uphill.


Similarly, always yield to folks on horses.

I understand the horses, but yield to folks coming uphill? I thought it was the other way. I don't see it as an inconvience when going uphill... just a good excuse for another rest break.

Youngblood

Lilred
11-25-2004, 13:10
I understand the horses, but yield to folks coming uphill? I thought it was the other way. I don't see it as an inconvience when going uphill... just a good excuse for another rest break.

Youngblood


I have always yielded to people going Downhill. For one, they are usually travelling faster and is harder to stop to wait for a slow person to get past them going uphill. They've usually got a stride going and it's hard to put on the breaks. Secondly, it's always nice, while going uphill to stop and rest as you let the downhillers go by. I question that 'yield to uphill climbers'.

Glee
11-25-2004, 13:20
Decided to delete my post as I figure it would be better if I sent a message to the person involved.

Ridge
11-25-2004, 13:22
There are so many issues about how a lot of hikers conduct themselves on or near the trail that volumes could be written about it. I would like to think that a lot of these hikers are one or two nighters, experimenters, and not thru-hikers or thru-hikers at heart. I always try to plan my camp as far away from parking (ie: deep in the woods) as I can. Passed a bunch carrying a king size mattress from a van one time, bet the thing was left somewhere on the trail when they finished. The list is endless of the kinds of things that goes on. I wish it would stop.

stickman
11-25-2004, 16:21
I know this is covered by LNT principles, but it can be repeated: when nature calls, go way off the trail, dig an actual cathole, and cover completely before you leave. Its disgusting how close to shelters so many "cat fields" are, with TP and worse strewn all over. People using shelters should be able to walk around the vicinity without having to worry about stepping in someone's waste.

Ridge
11-25-2004, 16:26
Its disgusting how close to shelters so many "cat fields" are, with TP and worse strewn all over. People using shelters should be able to walk around the vicinity without having to worry about stepping in someone's waste.
Three weeks ago I was hiking in GSMNP. In places(near shelters) the trail side looked/smelled like a cess pool. Disgusting!

Kerosene
11-26-2004, 12:44
When you are descending a mountain on a trail, yield to the folks coming uphill.I also have been taught to yield to downhill hikers since they tend to have the momentum (and I probably could use the rest anyway!). Generally, I pause regardless since I feel that it's polite to at least give a greeting before I move on.

Groucho
11-26-2004, 13:12
I also have been taught to yield to downhill hikers since they tend to have the momentum (and I probably could use the rest anyway!). Generally, I pause regardless since I feel that it's polite to at least give a greeting before I move on.

I usually wait on downhill hikers for the same reason. Uphill waiting for down applies on steep trail when there is danger of kicking up scree or dislodging other matter.

Bolo
11-26-2004, 19:51
Put nothing in a fire other than natural organic materials found in the woods.

Keep food out of fires, it doesn't all burn and attracts wildlife in a negative way.

Keep fires small and sit closely.

Never have a fire on organic duff, even in snow. Use existing rings only.

Pack it in, pack it out. Don't burn it.

For God's sake don't burn your TP on the PCT or anywhere that's dry!

Learn how to make a friction fire (like bow drill) to really appreciate the significance of fire. Read some Tom Brown books about it.

Leave logs over 5-in diameter alone. They are important "nutrient banks" for forest ecology.
Great advice Wookie! This is basically what we try to teach the Boy Scouts!:)
Bolo

BlackCloud
12-06-2004, 16:28
I usually wait on downhill hikers for the same reason. Uphill waiting for down applies on steep trail when there is danger of kicking up scree or dislodging other matter.My scouting books are buried somewhere in boxes, but I'd swear I remember reading that downhill hikers are to yield to uphill hikers b/c it is easier to start up again when going downhill. It would seem to make the most sense on busy trails, for ascending requires more of a grove then when descending. Ever notice you sweat more climbing then descending? That's b/c it's harder for the healthy hiker.

If the uphiller wants to stop & chat, great, but it should be their option.

Shrike
12-06-2004, 19:22
But it's easier to fall if you're heading downhill, which is why I always yield to the downhill guys, especially if it's real steep.

Groucho
12-06-2004, 20:25
My scouting books are buried somewhere in boxes, but I'd swear I remember reading that downhill hikers are to yield to uphill hikers b/c it is easier to start up again when going downhill. It would seem to make the most sense on busy trails, for ascending requires more of a grove then when descending. Ever notice you sweat more climbing then descending? That's b/c it's harder for the healthy hiker.

If the uphiller wants to stop & chat, great, but it should be their option.

I find it easy to stop on steep uphills. Usually, the uphill hiker sees me and stops before I can anyhow. I doubt all hikers will have scouting experience or will read any of these posts. Usually a downhill hiker will see an uphiller first though. If I see any scouts uphilling, I will wait. :)

The scout manual also says not to sip water (suck on a pebble instead), eat candy bars or drink sodas. :rolleyes:

AbeHikes
01-18-2005, 00:27
Now I don't feel so bad. I couldn't remember, so I stop in both cases. It's easy to work out with the other person(s).