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Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links
Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links


No Trace Hiking

No trace hiking is like the "Prime Directive" of hiking. The "Prime Directive" in "Star Trek" was meant to preserve the cultures of more primitive civilizations. No trace hiking is meant to preserve the natural state of the forests and wild places for future generations.

1. Stay on the trails. Cutting curves and switchbacks causes more trail damage than any other problem I've seen with hiking.

2. Pack it in, pack it out. Carry all your trash out. Search fire rings after burning to get those little pieces of foil left over from instant drink packs, tuna cans, etc. Clean up trash you may find while hiking. Leave the woods cleaner than you found it.

3. Don't cut up trees for your shelter or fire. There is plenty of dead wood around to use, and only use enough for what you need. Rotting logs provide nutrients for soil, firewood for others, and nice places to sit! If possible don't light a fire.

4. Stealth camp - make a site that will not show trace of your presence after you leave. Don't make fire rings where they don't exist, don't trench around your tent, don't cut down plants to make a site for your tent or cooking area.

Hike Your Own Hike

Hike your own hike is a basic rule that is similar to the mind your own business rule. It isn't supposed to be a way to excuse bad behavior, but rather to keep peoples opinions out of your hike, and yours out of theirs.

1. Gear. If you want to know about someone's gear or they about yours, then ask - but don't go around telling people why your gear is better then theirs, or why they should get rid of some thing they are carrying (like a tuba). Examples:

 a) Some people can't afford a $300 backpack, and are perfectly happy with a used 20 year old frame pack. Don't get the "My backpack is better than yours because I spent lots of $$$$ attitude). This applies to other stuff as well. You may decide to stop carrying a heavy gas stove and carry a Esbit or home made alcohol stove instead, you don't need every hiker offering to let you use their "real" stove.

 b) Someone may have an oven, espresso machine, or radio in their backpack - if they want to carry the weight then that is their problem. Some people carry things they believe they can't live without, or are going to make them happier in the woods. Don't call them crazy if they carry a folding camp stool on their back - you may learn later how great an idea it is!

 c) Some people love carrying heavy, bombproof , go anywhere gear in the woods, and don't mind carrying 60+ pounds for a weekend - while others try anything to lighten up by doing things like using cheap thin ponchos, old soda bottles as water carriers, and tennis shoes instead of boots. Don't let either one convince you about how to hike, both may have good ideas. I myself fall into the middle ground of the two.

2. Don't let other people's hike make you change your plans or how you hike. If you want to go 10 miles a day and enjoy the forest - then don't let some mile crazed thru hiker make you feel like a wimp if you don't do 20 miles a day. Don't give people funny looks if they only want to do 5 miles that day either, it's their hike.

3. Be courteous. If you want a cell phone or a radio - use it where other people can't hear or be bothered by it. Many go hiking to get away from such things. It seems ridiculous, but it happens -someone on top of a beautiful mountain in the middle of nowhere pulls out a cell phone and says "guess where I'm calling you from?" I like the Jose Cuervo commercial where the guy skips his cell phone across the water! Who wants to hear rap or Brittany into the wee hours of the morning? Well if you do - go away from others that just want to sleep so they can get up in the morning and enjoy the sunrise. You want to listen to it in the shelter - get headphones.

4. Don't use "Hike Your Own Hike" as an excuse for bad behavior. If you get caught bathing in a spring, and someone confronts you because it's the only drinking water for miles - don't say "Hey man, quit bothering me - hike your own hike". When your actions (such as this) infringe on the hike, safety, or welfare of other - then you are the one who is wrong.