The hiking trail we had chosen earlier this summer was busy. Lots of other people had the same idea. It was a beautiful day for a hike!

When I wander up or down a trail, I always try to be friendly and say hello to other hikers. Most people also say hi, except for this one dude. He barreled down the trail as if he owned the route and did not smile or say hello. He completely ignored us.

Saying hello or even talking to fellow hikers can be important. What if they or you got lost? The only way they or you might remember them is if you had stopped to say hello, ask about the trail or simply to make small talk about the weather.

Our stony hiker also did not yield, even though he was going downhill. Polite hikers going downhill should always yield to uphill hikers, since they have the tougher task. So downhillers should step to the side, off the trail, and say hello.

Hikers traveling uphill or downhill should step to the downhill side of the trail if they encounter horseback riders. Don’t make sudden moves and speak quietly.

Hikers have the right-of-way over mountain bikers, but sometimes it’s easier for hikers to step off the trail. Bikers shouldn’t expect hikers to step aside, though.

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Here are some other manners hikers should practice: Pack it in, pack it out is the most well-known reminder. That means if you carry in food or gum wrappers, carry them out with you. No one likes to see trash on a trail. Some folks carry an empty shopping bag to pick up other’s trash, which is very considerate.

If you like to listen to music, use headphones. Other trail users might not care for your music if you’re playing it on a speaker, or they probably prefer to hear the sounds of birds, the wind and rushing water.

So please be considerate of others around you when walking in the woods.

— Brett French, Billings Gazette



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