Hiking is an outdoor sport that requires no equipment. It's one of the least expensive sports you can engage in. It's basically walking, conducted in a natural setting. Some hiking is goal-oriented, with a specific distance or destination in mind, while other hikes take the form of rambling, with no particular goal other than exercise and enjoyment.
Hiking can be a social experience. You can join hiking groups and clubs to meet people with similar interests. Many singles organizations, in fact, run hikes as a form of low-stress get-together. Other people consider hiking to be a peaceful and solitary activity. Keep in mind these different approaches to hiking when you are on the trail.
Observe hiking etiquette whenever you are on a hike. Many hikers prefer peace and quiet, so if you are in a group, avoid shouting your conversations. Many hikers also enjoy seeing wild animals, and loud conversation and loud music are sure ways to scare animals away. Remember that you are in a natural setting and behave accordingly.
Hiking etiquette requires that a group stick to the pace of the slowest hiker so that no one is left behind. The easiest way to do this is to put slow hikers up front. If you find the pace of your group too slow, just choose a different group to hike with the next time.
If you cause a low-hanging branch to brush back, it is proper hiking etiquette to hold the branch for the next person so that it will not snap into their faces. However, it is also proper etiquette to maintain enough distance between yourself and the person in front of you so that they will not have to worry about hurting you with branches.
Right-of-way on hikes is different than the rules of the road for walking and driving. People heading uphill have the right of way on a narrow trail over people going downhill. Smaller groups of hikers have the right of way over larger groups.
By James Munroe
www.WillhiteWeb.com: Your online resource for hiking, climbing and travel
Harney Peak Trail, South Dakota