If you’re the kind who wants to prepare for your very first hiking trip, you’ve probably seen all those tips about what to or what not to do while on a hike. And you’ve probably sensed that all those information are still not enough to cover everything. Of course, there’s nothing like going through the whole outdoor experience yourself to know what exactly goes on and how you survive the whole thing.

But there’s also the fact that you can learn from the experiences of hikers and learn things that are not found in guide books

alestch glacier balance

Keep It Down

On the trail, all you’ll hear is the rustling of leaves, breaking of twigs as you trudge onwards, and the steady rhythm of your breathing (as well as those of your companions). There’s the occasional bird call and some other sounds of nature, too.

In this kind of scenario, you’d like to keep silent, unless you’d want to fend off bears or other predatory animals specific to the area. You’d want to keep unnecessary noise down not only so you can drink in the beauty of nature but also to respect the people you’re hiking with. They may not like that you got your portable radio turned up and blaring upbeat tunes all the way to your first camping spot. Or they may find your loud voice or careless stomping over the trail distracting. So yes, be mindful of the noise you make and keep it down.

Let Climbers Pass

When you’re descending, especially on a steep incline, you should give way to those who are still hiking their way up the path. Step to the far right side of the path and give them space to pass as ascending takes up more energy. If they want you to go ahead instead, they will wave you onwards or tell you to do so.

If someone wants to pass you, stay on the right side of the path and let the hiker pass on your left. The same goes if you’re to overtake someone. You’ll have to say, “On your left!” before you do so, though. Just make sure that, if you’re with a group, you all move in single file.

Picture taken in Kandersteg

Try Not to Disturb the Trail

At some point, you’ll be grabbing branches and rocks just to keep your balance and hang on to the trail. As much as possible, try to do so without breaking or damaging plants and other features on the trail. This is in keeping with the Leave No Trace principle, which encourages everyone to leave the place exactly as you found it to preserve the ecosystem.

Greet Fellow Hikers

It’s good courtesy to keep your noise down, but it doesn’t mean you’re not to say, “Hello!” other people you pass along the trail. You can talk to them a short while if your companions are okay about taking a break or you can ask them about the path ahead. However, if the person(s) you meet somehow doesn’t make you feel comfortable or safe, you should probably keep moving forward.




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