Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Trail Etiquette ?


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Johnny Gish
(jtgish) - F

Locale: Coppell, Texas
Trail Etiquette ? on 11/16/2006 13:39:44 MST Print View

This summer I went backpacking in the Weminuce Wilderness. The first night we hiked into Chicago Basin to set up camp. As we came upon this junction there was a large group of backpackers who looked like they were taking a break.
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We said hello and then set up camp about 300 yards east of this junction. The next morning we woke early to summit Windom Peak and as we were walking back to the junction to take the Twin Lakes trail we noticed that the large group had set up camp not only next to the trail but actually on the trail. They had 11 tents set up and 3 of them were actually on the trail. They were all asleep still, but when we got back down to camp that afternoon they were all just sitting there hanging out. I refrained from saying anything but now looking back I'm thinking I should have said something. So I was wondering if you all would have said anything to this group and what do you typically let slide and when do you decide to intervene? Thanks all.
JT

Edited by jtgish on 11/16/2006 13:41:20 MST.

Moe Dog
(moedog56) - F
Re: Trail Etiquette ? on 11/16/2006 13:53:28 MST Print View

11 tents?! Jeez! Maybe the ones on the trail were trying to minimize their impact on the area. If it wasn't too difficult to circumvent, I probably wouldn't say much - there's too many yahoos out there. Who know who's 'packing' and wakes up in a hangover-rage...

D T
(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: Trail Etiquette ? on 11/16/2006 14:34:26 MST Print View

It's been my experience that people like that don't want to listen to what you have to say no matter how polite you are. They're going to think your the jerk, then it's 11 tents worth of people to one. Unfortunatly, every one has a differant opinion of what is OK and what isn't OK in the back country, and sometimes it's impossible to change their opinion.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Trail Etiquette ? on 11/18/2006 09:55:45 MST Print View

The pirate woulda been slashing their guylines,argh..

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/18/2006 11:47:46 MST Print View

Another aspect of lack of trail etiquette: horses and bicycles on restricted trails. In the IN and MI forests I can frequent on weekend trips, many trail segments are multi-use, allowing horses and bicycles as well as hiking. However, although some trails are designated hiking only, I have a number of times run into cyclists or horses on a restricted trail. Although I have been tempted to say something to them about not belonging on that particular trail section, I find myself moving aside, saying "hi", and later phoning the Ranger station to report trail misuse. Short of mayhem, does anyone have a suggestion for alternate action? What do you do in similar situations?
Horses, as an aside, really destroy a trail in short order in the relatively soft ground of the midwest forests. Hiking where any frequent horse use exists is no fun!

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/18/2006 12:46:28 MST Print View

If you find horses or bikes or orvs on trails and you are absolutely, positively sure that they are prohibited there, take pictures. Take lots of pictures.

Write a polite letter (including the pictures) to the local land management agency. Send copies of that polite letter and pictures to local newspapers and (if on federal land) your congressperson or senator. Make sure all of these parties know that you sent copies to others -- that makes it harder for anyone to blow off your letter.

Then sit back and watch the fireworks.

Seriously, congressional staffs love stuff like this. If you can show that a land management agency isn't enforcing the laws they'd like to hear about it.

Edited by david_bonn on 11/19/2006 13:54:27 MST.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/19/2006 12:52:37 MST Print View

This has been an on going problem in the Alpine Lakes area, a couple of local individuals poaching trails in the wilderness. Having talked with them they are totally unrepentent...they've gotten access to gates on closed roads that allow them quick entry and have built some extreme freeride stunts inside the wilderness. The authorities seemed puzzled with what to do with pictures and gps coordinates so that a couple of climbers started toting hacksaws. The problem ended with a $6000.00 bike being cut in half. Local problem, local solution.
As David will testify the horse contigent in Washington State is quite strong, with access to just about anything that isn't class 4 mountaineering routes. Most packers are real concious of their impact but there are a few that need to tie their stock off at a lake or stream. I feel I have to confront them, offer to help move their animals, try to keep it neutral but have a strong knowledge of what is legal, after all the hacksaw solution isn't going to work with horses.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Trail etiquette on 11/20/2006 17:40:21 MST Print View

Re: "After all, the hacksaw solution isn't going to work with horses." It did in "The Godfather." What have we become, effete nattering nabobs?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/21/2006 02:38:21 MST Print View

> so that a couple of climbers started toting hacksaws. The problem ended with a $6000.00 bike being cut in half. Local problem, local solution.

We get similar problems with teenagers and trail bikes here in Australia. It got quite dangerous in one National Park near Sydney - the trail bike riders were travelling at high speed on narrow walking trails (to avoid being caught) and were getting very close to killing a walker. So some local walkers retaliated, by stringing piano wire across a trail. The next illegal bikie was decapitated. The authorities were aghast, but the trail bikes stopped. No-one was ever prosecuted.

I certainly do not support this sort of extreme action myself, but clearly some local people were really aggro about the bikies. A lower chain would have been better.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Re: Re: Re: Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/21/2006 03:22:20 MST Print View

I'm slightly aghast at the suggestion that slinging a low chain across a trail to stop motorcycle riders might have been better, especially after the mention of someone being decapitated in the same posting. Whilst a low chain might not decapitate someone, it could still cause a serious accident resulting in death or serious injury.

Whilst personally I dislike motorcycle riders tearing down trails in designated wilderness areas, setting wires, chains or other barriers is repugnent. This type of behaviour should be condemmed outright and those responsible brought to justice.

Those that ride motorcycles are out to enjoy themselves and whilst they should find somewhere more suitable to engage in their activity, they do not deserve to be maimed because someone feels they have the moral high ground. If you engage in chain slinging etc, you have lost the moral high ground outright.

The previous posters suggestion of taking pictures, contacting authorities etc is a much more appropriate course of action. Bike seizures, heavy fines, imprisonment for extreme cases, education campaigns, land set aside for motor cyclists etc are much better solutions and tactics to take.

Roger, whilst i'm glad to see you do not support extreme action yourself, your last comment 'A lower chain might have been better' is not helpful. How can anything slung across a trail that can cause injury be 'Better' ?

This sort of vigilante action needs condeming. Full Stop.

Edited by waterloggedwellies on 11/21/2006 12:40:24 MST.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trail Etiquette; horses, bikes? on 11/21/2006 03:33:35 MST Print View

>>"How can anything slung across a trail that can cause injury be 'Better' ?"


'Better' = Of course, in this case, a relative term only (e.g. injury vs. death); NOT meant as a term of advocacy or recommendation; "lower" in the sense of maybe teaching a lesson rather causing severe injury or death (but who's to know the outcome of any such action).

Clear thinking, good words, Scott.



"Avoid rather than check.
Check rather than harm.
Harm rather than maim.
Maim rather than kill.
For every life is precious,
neither can any be replaced."

- Master Po (words of advice to Gwai Qang Caine aka "Grasshopper")

Edited by pj on 11/21/2006 03:39:23 MST.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Killing bikers on 11/21/2006 08:47:50 MST Print View

When I referenced "The Godfather" in a previous post, I was 100% joking. I don't believe in violence, except when my life or another's is in imminent danger. It's better to harrass the appropriate law enforcement agencies until they take action, In My Arrogant Opinion (IMAO).

Frank Perkins
(fperkins)

Locale: North East
Re: Re: Horses on trails on 11/21/2006 09:30:48 MST Print View

My son and I went for a small hike this past weekend. He's only three, but was still able to do the 2.5 mile loop with some occasional stops to hit a tree with his hiking stick and refill on goldfish snacks.

Anyway, we get back to the house and my wife asked him "How was it?" and his response was "We saw horse *BEEP*!".

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Re: Horses on trails on 11/21/2006 09:48:44 MST Print View

Don't lose hope (just joking here). His response is normal for a child (boy or girl that age - not joking here).

My daughter's first question when she first saw pictures of Astronauts all suited up, helmet and all, was...

you guessed it...

"what do they do if they have to go?".

Great post. Thanks for sharing. Brings back good memories.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Killing bikers on 11/21/2006 09:50:38 MST Print View

Robert, for my part, i understood your comments to be a joke. have no worries mate.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Re: Death jokes on 11/21/2006 10:25:44 MST Print View

Thanks, PJ. Weird thoughts often pop out of my sick mind that I find funny at the time, but no one else does. Which is OK, I just don't want to contribute to trail violence.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Death jokes on 11/21/2006 10:28:43 MST Print View

well, not to put you down into my league, but as i usually phrase it when talking to other techno-geeks at work if they happen to come up with the same thing/conclusion, etc. as i do,...


sick minds think alike.

ROBERT TANGEN
(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Sick thoughts on 11/21/2006 14:08:49 MST Print View

PJ: you may be the only person who will understand why all my kids will get this for Christmas: "Epileptic Elmo." You just press the soft spot on top of his head, and he goes into a seizure, complete with tongue biting.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Sick thoughts on 11/21/2006 16:05:26 MST Print View

You're right; it is a sick thought. Sorry to say, i think that i get it.

'nuff said.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Sick thoughts on 11/21/2006 16:36:45 MST Print View

>> you may be the only person who will understand why all my kids will get this for Christmas: "Epileptic Elmo." You just press the soft spot on top of his head, and he goes into a seizure, complete with tongue biting.

Maybe we should stock this in the BPL store.

The Premium Member version could repeat seizures without having to repress the button over and over.