I have hiked with a loosely knit group for so many years that we all have a rhythm.
Since most of us are friends outside of hiking now it is common that some sleep over at our house. They are like family. Just family with a long drive over if they want to hike in the Cascades.
We also car pool or have my husband drop us off.
So the rules:
1) Starting early is not an option. This is so we can do all of the below.
2)Stopping at Safeway and Starbuck's is not an option. It always happens on the way out of town. Newbies figure this out quickly
3) Someone will want McDonald's in the back seat. We will stop.
4) Someone will need a last minute bathroom break at the last flush toilet. Plan in time.
5) Good food is meant to be shared. Always have enough of something special to share. It is the way. See above stop at Safeway for last minute buys.
6) Have your pack ready to go when we hit the trailhead. Boots on is a plus. We just don't get people who pack at the trailhead to say the least ;-)
7) There is no such thing as "group gear". You want it, you haul it.
8) There is nothing wrong with making private deals with friends on sharing items. Just don't assume people want to do a deal - you have to know them well.
9) If someone's gear breaks or fails, lend them yours unless they are a jerk. But we try to keep jerks to a minimum.
10) If someone has a hard day and gives the silent treatment, temper tantrums or a crying fit just ignore it. Then when they are in a better mood poke them for it. It happens.
11) In camp we eat as a group but each of us prepares our own meal (unless we have a deal between friends). We always offer leftover hot water to anyone who needs/wants it. Need spices? Honey? Tea packets? Help yourself.
12) If you see someone with no energy, offer to help them put up their shelter, get water for the group or tie off the Ursacks at night. If you get up early and get your Ursack, get everyone else's and take them to the kitchen area. The nice person boils water for morning drinks if they have sleepy heads with them!
13) Hike at your own pace. As long as you have map skills it is OK to be behind. If you have a newbie, don't ditch them though.
14) Never be an overbearing LNT douche bag. It is annoying and guess what? We all know it. We don't need or want to hear about your LNT master training for 40 miles.
15) If moral is down be sure to talk about all the beer, pop, ice tea and pizza you will buy when done. Talking about food seems to always help. Then pull out that treat you bought back on day 1 and share it.
16) It is always flat along the ridgeline. Don't ruin my fantasy!
17) After hike, eating out is nearly always done. I am observant enough to know who cannot afford it and I or someone else will cover your bill. We know how it is to be in that position and will never embarrass you. Going out to eat seems to work as this awesome way to bond over the trip and not just disappear on the wind at the trailhead, with cars driving away. And no one passes up a hot meal and a cold drink unless they are an idiot......
PS: Most of us don't care about being fashion plates and often smell like well traveled yaks at the end. Most of us don't care about bathing on trail, wearing deodorant or carrying fresh clothing for changing into in camp. It is a good idea to carry new clothes for the car. If you want. We don't care. That is what home is for - that shower so hot it sears you.
Most of us don't share shelters. They are small and it is our tiny box of privacy.
If Dicentra and I are on a trip together we will talk the entire trip, from sun up to bed time. Get used to it. If you don't want to hear us, walk faster with the boys. We will see you in camp.