Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blocking the trail

Most hikers I meet on the trail are friendly and considerate but I've noticed a surprising number sometimes partially block trails when other users are present. One common situation when I'm hiking is to come up to a group who are sitting in the trail with their gear spread around. I end up stepping over and around them and their gear. It isn't a big issue but is mildly annoying if they just sit there with no attempt to move themselves or their stuff out of the trail. Another common situation I see is one hiker attempting to get something out of anothers backpack without removing the backpack. Some when they see another hiker move to the side or off the trail; others continue to stand there blocking. Generally neither of these are more than an inconvenience, I move off the trail but sometimes there isn't any safe area to the side of the trail to go by and I can't get by them. And occasionally I catch up to a group walking more slowly than I am and they don't more over to allow me to pass. There are sometimes good reasons for this, no safe place to move over, near the trailhead, or maybe they have been passed repeatedly. Most annoying are those hikers who continue to walk side by side instead of going to single file to allow another hiker to pass especially when I meet them on the trail and there is no excuse of not seeing me.

Washington Trails Association has a page on Trail Etiquette for all types of trail users. I doubt most hikers or other types of users have seen these guidelines but many seem to me to be simple courtesy. I'm rarely in much of a hurry and don't mind slowing down or stepping aside for others and wish other hikers would do the same.

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