In the time we have been away, we have been on our fair few share of hikes. They have lasted for a few hours and up to a few days. Over that time, there have been a few things I have began to realise or accept as the proper etiquette or behaviour when you are sloshing through mud, mazing your way through dense pine forests or sweating it out in tropical jungles.
The following is a list of what I have deemed as the most important when participating on a hike. I should also note, that these primarily relate to when you are trekking as a group. See what you think, if you agree and feel free to add you own!
Don’t Be Captain Complainer
I know as soon as Anthony reads I am giving advice on this point, he will laugh hysterically, as he often calls me the Captain Complainer. I am the first person to admit that I complain when I trek. I hate getting sweaty, tired, hungry, puffed (Wow…Why do I enjoy trekking so much?!) I am not saying you cannot complain at all. I think people should just be aware of how they complain and whine.
If there is one thing I can’t stand more than getting sweaty, tired, hungry or puffed when I trek, it’s when people complain loudly and constantly. I just come prepared, invest in good gear like Patagonia or North Face equipment and you will most likely complain less. More often than not, everyone is in the same boat- all feeling a little worse for wear.
But it does’t mean you need to remind people of it all the time!
I am the quiet complainer. I think over and over in my head, how much my legs hurt or when the next pit stop will be. But that’s the point…I do it quietly! (Well, in all fairness, Ant gets the brunt of it at times too). People don’t need to hear how much my blisters are hurting and I really don’t need to hear how a guys sack rash is killing him. (I mean c’mon buddy I just met you).
Also don’t be the person who is constantly complaining out loud in a joking manner, trying to cover up how they are really feeling. You know the people, the ones who are constantly turning around to the group saying “Why are we doing this again?” Or “Whose idea was this hike?!” with a stupid grin on their face. It’s not funny and it just makes me think even more why am I doing the trek?
Bottom line, if you are going to whine, keep it to yourself. No one else wants to hear about your problems, we all have our own.
Be Careful Of The Full Moon
Most of the time when trekking, going to the toilet means going bush. I’ve never had to rely on busherman’s toilet paper because (if you know me) I’m always prepared!
But just because we are trekking as a group, doesn’t mean we all need to go to the toilet as a group. It’s not a bonding experience.
If you are yet to go on any long treks, let me be the first to tell you-find a private place to do your business!
There have been numerous times, when we have had a pit stop for a quick snack and a drink, I’ve turned around and a full moon is shining right in my face (and no it hasn’t been night time).
I don’t know whether people just don’t realize they are so close to group and that we can all see them do their business while we are trying to eat or that they are terrified if they go into dense foliage, we will start up again and leave without them. Either way, people need to be more aware of their surroundings.
If you can see us….we can see you! (And it’s often a part I don’t need to see of you).
Learn To Share
If you remember from my first point, when we trek, we are often hungry. Hiking really takes it out of you and by the time you usually stop for lunch you are ready to devour anything. But, just because you are ravenous doesn’t give you the right to go for 3rd and 4th helpings when everyone else is still on their first plate.
Don’t worry, there is always a huge amount of food available, but you need to learn how to share and wait for everyone to have at least one helping before you start serving your self up again.
I still can’t believe the amount of people we have hiked with who have scoffed their first plate and dug right in to their next serving before others have even finished.
If you really can’t wait, at least ask the rest of us if we mind you eating all our food. More often than not, we’ll be too polite to say otherwise.
I figure, if you know you eat a lot and you are a really hungry person, pack some snacks for yourself to tie you over until the next group meal. I always trek with extra trail mix, chocolate and muesli bars that I will chew on when we are walking if I can’t wait until lunch or dinner.
Don’t be one of those people who will eat more than they need just to get their ‘money’s worth’. Hiking is not about the meals. It’s about the landscape, the wildlife and the numerous photo opportunities you’ll find along the way.
Be A Polite Hiker
Hiking will take you through plenty of different terrain. You may be walking through grassland, dirt tracks, skipping on rocks over streams or in slippery mud. Whatever the trail is like remember to be courteous of the person behind you.
What I mean is, if you find a hole in the track, large root you need to step over or a thorny plant in the way, tell the person behind you.
I know you need to be quite observant when hiking, but it doesn’t hurt to let the person behind know of a hole up ahead they might sprain their ankle on.
The same goes with branches of trees and scrub that has begun to creep, hang and reach out onto the track. Don’t just walk into it and let it fling back. There is a person behind you!
The amount of scratches, cuts and thorn pricks I’ve accumulated over trekking is mostly from people just powering ahead on the trail letting the branch or what not, thwack me in the face or arms!
Often I’ll hold it back for people until they can reach up and grab it themselves to hold so it doesn’t give them a nasty scratch.
It is a simple gesture that makes your trekking much more enjoyable.
It’s Not A Race
The popular saying ‘You’re only as fast as your slowest person’ really rings true when you are trekking as group.
I don’t understand the people who feel the need to power ahead of the group, like they’re training for an upcoming cross country event (Ok, fair enough if you are training for an event, but do it by yourself).
I mean, what’s the point? Why do you feel the need to move so fast? I know getting to your destination is great feeling at the end of the trek, but it shouldn’t be the premise for taking a trek in the first place.
Take in the view.
Look for peculiar animals, bugs or plants.
Stop and smell the fresh air.
If you do charge ahead you’ll just have to wait for the slow pokes (that’s me!) at the next pit stop for double as long.
I should also say here, that if you are a really slow trekker (like me) don’t hold up everyone on the trail either. There is a point between being a dawdler or just genuinely tired! It all comes back to remembering you are with other people and being polite.