Hiking etiquette: How to behave appropriately on a hike and not spoil the experience of others
Etiquette applies to all of us, whether we are men, women or children, and everywhere, whether we are talking about dining or hiking. At the same time, it is not necessary to go to absolute extremes and pay attention to the position of each zipper on the jacket, you just need to adopt a few basic habits, based on good manners and empathy for people around you.
1. Leave no trace
The basic rule, which should apply in general to public spaces and areas, but in nature its importance is even higher. And this is probably the most important rule in this article on etiquette. No matter how long and demanding the hike is in front of you, all the waste produced should end up in your backpack. This also applies to waste such as apple pips or banana peel.
The second key to leaving nature in the same condition we found is not to interfere with the vegetation, not to manipulate the stones and not to take anything home with you.
2. Hikers have priority over mountain bikers
On the hiking trails have priority, of course, hikers. Bikers have their marked routes; if they cycle outside, they need to consider this fact and adapt their ride accordingly. On the other hand, this does not mean that as hikers we should not behave empathetically towards bikers - we will clear the way for them, make it easier for them to cross and we will all enjoy our stay in the mountains a bit more.
3. Priority is given to hikers who go upwards
A hiker who goes upwards has priority. The explanation is simple - the ascent above is much more demanding and it is good to keep a constant pace on it as much as possible. The forced stop, when a person found his pace, really does not please anyone and can make the hiker uncomfortable.
Of course, this rule is not entirely strict, and it is common for a person going uphill to stop and use this moment to rest in a targeted manner if he feels that his body is asking him to. But in any case, even if the person going down has priority, it must be decided by the person going up.
4. We are all family in the mountains, let's say hello and spread the good mood
We go to nature to enjoy the world with everything it has to offer. To relax, to have a good time and saw new things. We should also spread this positive atmosphere among ourselves.
As they say, we are all family in the mountains, so let's at least give everyone a simple greeting, help each other if necessary, and show each other that humanity isn't really that bad yet.
5. Music, technology and noise
Nature associates many with silence, and that is one of the reasons why we return to it weekend after weekend. Escape from the noise of the big city and get closer to your essence. It is all the more frustrating to hear a portable speaker on the sidewalks instead of birdsong and leaf noise.
Maybe not everyone is looking for silence in nature and there are those among us who like to listen to a playlist during the hike. But headphones are great for this purpose.
The second topic is the phone as such. You use it for any purpose during your hike, pay attention to your surroundings in the first place, do not delay others by blocking the way while taking photos and do not spoil their experience unnecessarily. If you need to call, be brief and not too noisy.
But the same rule applies to conversations. Sure, we like to go to the mountains together, with family, with friends, with partners. But our conversation should never be so loud that it is uncomfortable for our surroundings. (But not too quiet to surprise the bear.)
6. Do not leave the marked trails
We should enjoy the beauty of nature without having to leave the marked trails, and there are several good reasons. Not only can this harm the rare vegetation, but it is also true that uneven terrain can be dangerous and there is an increased risk of getting lost outside the marked paths. It's more a matter of personal safety than etiquette, until you realize that there are people out there at home who are worried about you.
7. Respect wildlife
Especially in the High Tatras, many are noticing the change in animal behavior in recent years. Not so long ago shy chamois, which we could only observe from a distance, today it is not a problem to meet for a few meters. Despite the fact that the animals has lost this shyness in several cases, we should still treat them with great respect. We do not approach animals, we do not chase them, we do not feed them. Not only for your own safety, but also for your respect for the wilderness.