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Trash or treasures?
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Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Trash or treasures? on 03/09/2012 11:13:32 MST Print View

We’ve found a lot of things on the trail over the years, from little bits of trash to some pretty expensive equipment. And we don’t always know what to do about it.

The trash is easy. If it is small enough and not a bio-hazard, we’ll just pick up and pack it out. And swear a small curse on the person who left it there. We always get back to the trailhead with some extra trash.

Sometimes the trash is too big to carry, so we have no choice. The curse still holds.

But what if it isn’t trash?

We once found a perfectly packed and very expensive small tent on the side of the trail, half-way up Snow Creek in Yosemite. We were on a day hike, and we left it there on our way up. And it was still there on our way down. We discussed taking back down and turning it in to the lost and found department at the visitor center. That way it might have found its way back to its owners.

But we also considered that someone had left that tent on the trail intentionally, and were planning to come back for it later. There are a lot of climbers in this area, and rock climbers don’t like carrying tent up cliffs unless they have to. So we left it there.

(If it had been us, we would have left it in a more discreet that others wouldn't see it or be confused.)

And last summer we found a very nice sandal on the trail up to second recess above Edison Lake. It was just one sandal, and we once again considered taking it back to the ferry, so that whoever lost it might find it again. In the end, we decided that it was more likely that a hiker would find it by backtracking and checking the trail, rather than the resort on the other side of the lake. So we left the sandal in the middle of the trail, where it was impossible to miss.

And a fellow passenger on the ferry commiserated with us about the fact that she had lost a sandal on that trail. We were able to tell her exactly where it was---but she wasn’t going to go back.

And on the first day of our hike on that same trail, my wife lost her hat. (It was my fault, because I had wedged it into the back of her pack, and it had fallen out.) So on the way back out, we looked everywhere for it. It was a big hat, and hard to miss.But someone had clearly found it, and picked it up.

Now my wife needs a new hat. So if you know anyone who found one in that area...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Trash or treasures? on 03/09/2012 11:17:40 MST Print View

On a trip last summer in Kings Canyon, I was finding coins on the trail and in campsites. I think I had 37 cents by the end of the trip. Of course I would not leave things like that out on the trail.


Toby Salz
(tobysalz) - M
Re: Trash or treasures? on 03/09/2012 19:47:02 MST Print View

2 summers ago i found an old army style aluminum canteen still sitting in it's canvas cover. the cover had almost completely broken down. still had some water in it. i spent some time looking into it. looks like it was made in 1912. looks like the second one on this page:

found this somewhere near triple divide pass in sequoia/kings.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Trash or Treasures? on 03/09/2012 20:07:27 MST Print View

I once found a very expensive camera >$300 off of a main trail, kindof on a boulder.

With rain forecasted in the next few hours, my partner and I made the execuative decision of picking it up and trying to find the owner. We posted a note and talked to the owner of the local gear shop (an institution in that town) as well as posting ads on Mountain Project and summit post as it was found in a popular climbing area.

Never found the owner, after what I believe was a good faith effort at returning it. Still have the camera.

Rick Horne
(Rick778) - M

Locale: NorCal - South Bay - Campbell
Re: Re: Trash or treasures? on 03/10/2012 08:49:51 MST Print View

On the same trip Bob found his fortune, Ken found a cold beer and 3 broken GG hiking poles. The beer was definitely a treasure, not sure about the broken hiking poles Jack carried out.

Another group of folks found a large advertising balloon, definitely trash.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: Trash or treasures? on 03/10/2012 09:54:54 MST Print View

My buddy and I found an iPod charged up and ready to go. It had ear pods on it and everything. The trail was steep and not a touristy kind of trail, so we figured that it was a runner's device. How it fell out of their ears without them noticing, I'll never know.

The music on it was horrible but there was a Facebook app so my buddy, who has a facebook account, (dont tell him I told you) messaged her or whatever and he returned it.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
I've struggled with this too... on 03/16/2012 14:12:20 MDT Print View

Coming down from half dome I saw various items along the trail that were not trash. They were typically stacked neatly so I figured someone might be coming back for them. However, we were coming down late (last ones down) and I really wondered if they weren't just abandoned. I didn't have enough room to carry all the stuff I saw, so I ended up leaving them. I guess had i found something expensive like a camera I would have taken it and tried to find the owner, but it was something I struggled with. Is the owner more likely to get their stuff back if you leave it or take it and turn it into lost and found? Is it abandoned and now really just trash?

What does everyone else typically do?

Jeremy Olson
(Kayaker7775) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Me too on 03/16/2012 14:45:35 MDT Print View

We once found an expensive camera on day 3 of our trek through Glacier NP. We looked at the photos on the camera and they were of a father and son. 3 days later we happed to run into them while getting water from a stream. They were very happy. Trail Karma

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
an entire campsite on 03/18/2012 17:53:10 MDT Print View

Saturday i walked past what appeared to be a person's campsite; sleeping bag in a tarp "bivy", backpack, wet socks, another pair of wet socks, wet underwear, shoes, and a t-shirt. this was 3 feet from the edge of the AT in a very popular area - hundreds walk past this spot in a weekend. there was not a soul around.

the shoes, tarp, and empty pack were gone when i went past this morning - i think someone "cleaned" up the place. i called the Park Watch number and filed a report after first inquiring about any overdue hikers or missing person reports.

it really looked like someone woke up and just walked away.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: an entire campsite on 03/18/2012 19:37:08 MDT Print View

> a person's campsite; sleeping bag in a tarp "bivy", backpack, wet socks, another pair of
> wet socks, wet underwear, shoes, and a t-shirt. this was 3 feet from the edge of the AT
> in a very popular area
They may have raced out of their bag to go to the loo? And been slightly undressed and reluctant to emerge while you were there?


Ozzy McKinney
(PorcupinePhobia) - F

Locale: PNW
Glucometer on 03/18/2012 23:29:14 MDT Print View

I once found an (expensive) glucometer at a trail junction. We were 7 miles from the nearest trail head. It was p1ssing rain, as it tends to do around here. I checked it, it still worked, the last reading was 87 (fine). We left it, of course, in a spare ziplock, should the person come back for it. No insulin pens in the case. Hope whomever needed it, found it again.