Sections of my next adventure Te Araroa have been deviated due to several incidents and few inconsiderate hikers crossing  farming properties! This got me thinking is this inconsiderate or just hikers without a clue? Given that so many novices are now taking up hiking,  here’s a few Hiking rules to follow so everyone can enjoy the experience for a long time to come!  

LEAVE NO TRACE: leave everything the same way you found it! Common sense really, but apparently not to everyone. Hikers crossing cattle stations, left gates open and stock got out, left rubbish behind and I’ve heard other stories of illegal entry to farm buildings. It’s not that difficult to Respect the land owners that generously provided this access, Respect the property and livestock, Respect their Rules! thru hikers have to deviate around this entire section of the trail as a consequence.

CARRY in, CARRY out: ALWAYS, that means every hike, every time, every location! the only difference to your pack weight should be the food that you have consumed, not by the rubbish that you have left behind. with great disappointment and disgust I have seen lots of rubbish on several long distance hikes. The worst experience would have to be on Overland Track coming across used sanitary products, yes in the middle of a pristine alpine location! These do not break down, particular at altitude, carry them out in environmental bags or a poo pot (read below) and dispose of properly or Ladies better still consider using menstrual cups instead! Much better for the environment, hygienic and less weight to carry in or out! 

UPS and DOWNS: If you are descending and hikers are coming up the trail, please step aside and give way to those huffing and puffing coming up! UP hikers with backpacks have right of way – it takes more energy walking up a hill, and therefore harder to get started once you stop. Descending you already have gravity working in your favour. Be considerate.

POO:  I know it’s not a topic that people want to talk about, but it’s an important one. I don’t want to see em, smell em or tread in em, yours or your dogs – “poo that is”. Irresponsible toileting can make others very sick with nausea and diarrhoea, leading to giardia and dehydration. If it’s your waste then walk at least 50m off the trail (even further from water sources if you can), dig a min 15cm hole and bury it! and under no circumstances ever let the poo touch the shovel – (especially if it’s my shovel that you have borrowed!). If you are walking in the bush for any length of time, ensure you carry a toilet kit. If going to high altitude or alpine areas take a poo pot. A hygienic sealable container to …”carry your crap”. Bear in mind colder climates and higher altitude items take longer or don’t break down. Your poo is not the legacy you want to leave on earth for others to remember you by! If it’s your dogs poo, please ensure you take bags and pick it up (it’s the law). 

SMOKERS:  I know it must be a terrible addiction, but maybe use the bushwalking as an opportunity to rid yourself of the habit. There is nothing better than Fresh Air, distraction from the addiction, appreciating being in nature. If you do decide to light up, please don’t do it on the trail so that the hikers behind you get your secondary smoke; but worse still then toss the butts into the bush or leave them behind. Really???  we are in the bush with dry litter and smokers have decided to tempt all of our fates by tossing a ciggie butt into dry grass and leaves. If the addiction is that bad, that you can’t go without lighting up, maybe seek medical attention first and remain away from public places that hikers go to escape these nasty forms of pollution.  This is not to mention the risk to wildlife ingesting discarded butts.

BUSHWALKING is NOT personal training! if you are considering going on any type of hike, bushwalk, check the experience, qualifications, risk assessments, public liability, wilderness first aid qualifications of the business or person running the walks. If they have no real bushwalking experience or can’t provide any of the above, they are putting you and themselves at risk of injury or death.

If you want to know more about safe Hiking, gear selection, etiquette, hiking techniques, we have several Workshops coming up. 2 hour workshops covering a range of topics, 12 May 18, 14 Jul 18. Cost is $40, adventure Club $25.

Email to book in or express your interest for future hiking workshops.   


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