This article was guest written by Jean Deruiter.
Hiking is a pleasant yet challenging activity to get into. Hence, many people from different age groups and physicalities are avid hikers.
With that said, if you’re someone who’s planning on hiking more, you want to make sure that you do it.
The first rule to think about would be to ensure that you leave no trace. As a new hiker, you might not know much of the unspoken rules.
To help you be a responsible hiker, here are six tips that you should follow:
1. Plan meticulously
It’s a good habit to always prepare for a hike, no matter what, if you plan on becoming a frequent hiker. Therefore, you should make sure that you plan before any hikes to ensure that you don’t make the hike any harder.
Bring lots of ready-to-eat food with you as well as plenty of water to hydrate you.
As someone who’s just starting to hike, it’s a good idea to keep your trekking poles with you, even if you don’t think your trek will be particularly rough. It’s good practice to use trekking poles, and it can help leverage you or catch you in case of a little trip along the hike.
It would be best to look into the local flora and fauna along the hiking trail to help give you enough information to prepare you during the hike.
2. Respect wildlife
Some hikers look forward to during a hike would be seeing the wildlife, both flora, and fauna, along the way in their natural habitat. They certainly make for an exciting sight, but any veteran hiker will tell you that it’s best to respect the wildlife than interact with it.
You should leave the wilderness be and observe them from afar. No matter how small or harmless an animal be, you shouldn’t do anything with them. This includes petting, feeding, or relocating them.
Taking their photos should be enough to remember the moment. However, make sure that your camera doesn’t make an audible or loud shutter sound and a flash when you take the photo.
3. Minimize campfire impacts
If you plan on camping during your hiking trip, you should make sure that you minimize your campfire impact. Even if you don’t see the fire spreading on the surface, you never know because there’s such a thing as root fires.
Root fires would be fire spreading underground from the roots of grass spreading everywhere. If you camp off-trail and don’t camp in the hiking trail indicated places, you risk starting a wildfire from root fires.
As a responsible hiker, you should make sure that you don’t damage the area you visit, so you should only camp in dedicated spaces.
4. Leave what you find
Too many new hikers think that it’s a free-for-all gift shop throughout the entire hiking trail when they go on a hiking trail.
That’s not the case at all.
You might be doing a lot of harm that way without you even knowing. That’s why as a hiker, you should follow the rule of leaving no trace and leaving whatever you find along the trail back to the track.
If every hiker had free reign over the state of the trail, you’d leave behind nothing. This deprives the future generation of the ability to experience the same thing. It’s not even the far-off future that we’re talking about here.
Therefore, you should be responsible and not pick at the hiking trail like it’s a catalog.
5. Dispose of waste properly
Besides not taking anything away from the hiking trail, you should also make sure that you don’t add anything to it, especially waste or trash.
Keep a plastic bag or any container where you would store any rubbish that you produce instead of throwing it away along the trail. Instead of using single-use items like a plastic water bottle, get yourself a reusable canteen for water.
The term waste should cover everything from plastic waste, food waste, human and even pet waste when it comes to waste. Ensure that you know the right way to dispose of that waste, and you should help maintain the sanctity of your hiking trail.
6. Consider other visitors
Likely, you’re not going to be the only one along the hiking trail, especially for relatively popular and entry-level ones. Therefore, you should learn how to be considerate of other hikers along the way.
Suppose someone is hiking faster than you. Please don’t block the way but don’t feel the pressure of keeping up with them. Go with whatever your body feels like and can do.
Keep a friendly demeanor about you, and you’ll find that hikers are some of the more interesting people you’re going to meet. You might even be part of the hiking community.
New hikers should keep these rules to heart. That is because these are meant to ensure that you have a pleasant time. Moreover, it is a reminder that you shouldn’t cause harm or damage while hiking.