Etiquette: the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life.
Probably when you hear the word etiquette, you think of something like a tea party or special dinner. How often would you think of etiquette when it comes to hiking? This post will get you up to speed on all the tips Ranger Bryn Harmer gave us just for that! I had never thought of some of these. Maybe a few will surprise you too.
- Hike quietly. Speak in low voices and turn your cell phone down, if not off. Enjoy the sounds of nature and let others do the same. Also, since reception for service is so bad in the mountains, you might want to put your phone in airplane mode to conserve your battery. You can still take pictures with it, but your battery won’t get drained by searching for service.
- If taking a break, move off the trail a little ways to allow others to pass by unobstructed.
- Don’t toss your trash – not even biodegradable items such as banana peels. It is not good for animals to eat non-native foods and who wants to look at your old banana peel while it ever-so-slowly decomposes?I know I am guilty of this. I have always looked at it as compost. I throw it into the woods and not on the side of the trail but Bryn pointed out we don’t need things growing in the woods that aren’t supposed to be there. You don’t want something sprouting and growing that might harm the woods.
- If you packed it in, pack it back out.
- Hikers going downhill yield to those hiking uphill. Everyone yields to horses. They always have the right of way. Please be courteous and don’t spook the horse or rider. Mountain bikes are supposed to yield to hikers but if you see how those guys fly in Paris Mountain you might want to get out of their way! I personally feel they have a little more right of way because their feet are hooked in to the pedals. But better to just be courteous all the way around.
- When bringing a pet on a hike, be sure to keep it on a leash and under control. Don’t forget to pack out pet waste as well. I think even on an extendable leash it is not supposed to be any more than 6 feet.
- Don’t feed the wildlife. While many animals stay hidden, others are not so shy. Giving these creatures food only disrupts their natural foraging habits. And it makes them people friendly and this could be bad for everyone.
- Leave what you find. The only souvenirs a hiker should come home with are photographs and happy memories. (And maybe an improved fitness level!)
- When relieving yourself outdoors, be sure to do so 200 feet away from the trail and away from any water sources. Follow Leave No Trace principles.
- Walk through the mud or puddle and not around it, unless you can do so without going off the trail. Widening a trail by going around puddles, etc. is bad for trail sustainability and in some cases stepping off the trail means stepping onto native plants that might be rare. Just because it looks easy to cut the corner off of a switchback doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Help preserve the trail by staying on it.
- If hiking in a group, don’t take up the whole width of the trail; allow others to pass.
What a great time we had! As you can see from all I’ve shared, Bryn’s talk was wonderful and full of great information. After the talk we had lunch on the picnic tables near the entrance to the trail. Then we stopped and filled out our registration form before we began out hike. There was lots of lovely scenery and of course the beautiful falls, which you can see in the pic behind me. I highly recommend visiting this and all of the state parks in SC! Let me know where you want to plan a hike to, maybe I can join you too!