Sunday, July 12, 2015

List:05 Sharing the Trail or Other Basic Logic

Here are the general rules for sharing the trail:

Anyone coming up a hill has the right of way. Move over and let them pass. If you are the one climbing up and don't want to power through, step to the side and allow the descending party to pass.
Move over and let a faster party pass you if you are both going the same way.
Pack animals always have the right of way. Move off the trail and stay still until they pass.
Bikers are supposed to yield to hikers, but often fly around curves and over hills, so always keep an eye out on shared trails.

Basic etiquette:
Don't make a new path via taking a shortcut or cutting down switchbacks
Walk in single file on narrow trails to keep from making it wider
Walk through puddles instead of skirting them to keep from making the trail a wide muddy wash (I am SO guilty of this, I hate wet feet!)
Say hey when you pass other hikers, but don't stop and chat unless they really seem eager.
Do share important info such as snake sighting or an unclear trail split ahead, but don't tell your fellow hikers about the terrain or distance to go unless they ask.

Hiking Logic:
2.5 miles an hour is a good estimate, add 20 minutes to each mile that has a long climb.
Walk the pace of the slowest hiker or else pre-plan where to meet back up and be sure you both have a map as well as a good idea of the distance to the meeting up point.
Stop as needed to rest, adjust gear, check feet or snack, especially if hiking with kids. Specifically ask them if their feet have any spots that feel hot or if their shoes are rubbing.

If it's chilly, put your jacket on as soon as you stop. Staying warm is easier than getting warm.
If it's warm, rest in the shade-you will be more rested if you are as comfortable as possible.

When resting for a while, elevate your legs, especially if your feet tend to swell. This drains lactic acid (staying really hydrated helps with this, too!) which is the culprit that causes muscles to be sore.

If your hands tend to swell, leave your metal rings at home, drink more and walk briefly with them up in the air over your head or hook your thumbs into your straps to keep your hands above your heart.
Qalo makes a silicone ring that won't cut off circulation if you can't stand the thought of not having a wedding ring on.

Common Sense:
Spend some time learning to read weather signs.

Practice Leave No Trace.

Know basic first aid at LEAST and know how to use everything in your first aid kit. Same for your repair kit. Know how to use your equipment including making repairs, troubleshooting problems and be sure of the type gas and canister size your stove uses.

Know how to stay found. Consult your map often to keep up with your location, double check at intersections, leave your plans with someone back home and check in as soon as you are off the trail. If truly worried, look into getting a SPOT or similar device. These ping your location and report back with about a 15 minute delay. People with your pass code can track your whole hike and when you are set up for the night, you can press a button that sends an 'all okay' message. If it all goes horribly wrong, you can also press a button that will summon the troops for rescue. These are currently around $120 and involve a monthly fee for service.

Never ever ever wear cotton any time for any layer. If it gets wet, it becomes heavy and it will suck the body heat out of you. Cotton kills! Hypothermia is a real danger, even in warmer weather.

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