Every year we make a list of people who really should know better. May Santa bring them coal for their stockings and a plague of mosquitoes wherever they go. Here's this year's list:
The bumbling and criminal idiots who butchered the historic petroglyphs near Bishop in order steal them. They destroyed a priceless part of our national heritage.
The clown we met in the backcountry of Yosemite with his young son and two dogs…and who explained that he knew about the regulations, but they didn’t really apply to him. After all, his dogs were well-trained, yadda yadda yadda.
For that matter, all of those who know that the regulations don’t really apply to them: from fishing in closed waters (or with illegal equipment) to camping in illegal places (too close to the trail or water.) Yes, the rules do apply to you, too. And even if the people you meet don’t say it, they think you are complete jerks. They are right.
Those who bypass road closures and trail closures because they know better. Especially those idiots who then need help getting rescued. Not only do they place themselves in danger, but they risk the lives and health of those who are then required to go search for them.
Anyone who leaves food unprotected in the mountains. Especially those who do it because they hope it will attract wildlife. Follow the regulations, and nobody gets hurt---not even the bears.
Those who cross high water streams because they think they can get across. Then again, they aren’t with us anymore, so it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to cross. There is always a Plan B, even if Plan B means going back the way you came.
Those who litter, even a tiny little bit, along the trail. We can’t remember the last trip we’ve taken that didn’t show us little bit of trash, and often bigger bits. We try to pick it up—but sometimes it is just too much. Pack out your trash.
Those who build fires (or fire rings) where they are illegal. Why do we find so many of these above the elevation limit in the Sierra?
And a special note of disapproval for those who refuse to follow the rules about hygiene and toilet paper. May you find some used TP under your tree, just as we have found it behind our campsites in the Sierra.
Curmudgeons who insist that their way is really the only way to backpack, whether that be ultra-light, take the kitchen sink, or just take a rifle and an axe and build everything you need. Hike your own hike…and let others do the same, as long as it is within the regulations.
Large groups. 'nuff said.
Those who build needless cairns in the backcountry as a way of marking their territory off trail and leaving a string of ridiculous rock towers in an otherwise pristine environment.
And finally, those knuckleheads in Washington who couldn’t find El Capitan from Yosemite Valley if it required asking for directions or working together. Let’s take them all out on a long hike and…oh, nevermind. They’d never leave the trailhead. Heck, they’d never make it TO the trailhead.
Hey---that gives us an idea!