Quandary teaches trail manners and outdoor survival skills | SummitDaily.com

Quandary teaches trail manners and outdoor survival skills

What are some rules for trail etiquette?

Once you learn to walk, you are not done with the educational process. Yes, there are several advanced forms of walking that require additional knowledge, and hiking is one of those more nuanced varieties. It seems that learning the steps is one thing, but people often struggle with the details on this one. This lack of walking-knowledge can be a danger to your own health as well as those around you, so let’s see if we can save some lives here.

First off, on the trail, the uphill traveler gets right-of-way. If you are wandering down the mountain and see someone struggling their way up a narrow trail, take a little break and let them go ahead. Also, if you are taking a more casual approach to the hike, don’t be offended if someone wants to pass you. Instead, see your sights from the side of the trail so everyone can enjoy their own pace. Hiking is not a race and there is no passing lane, so try not to get too competitive with the nature lovers around you. If you are hiking and you run into a rider on horseback, yield to the horse. This large, four-legged friend will always get right-of-way, even with bicyclists. Lucky for you, the pedal-pushers must yield to hikers, as well.

In order to enjoy the space, it’s also important to follow the “leave no trace” principle. If you brought something in with you, like an energy bar, don’t leave your wrapper behind. All of the trash accumulates quickly so make sure to take whatever you bring. Also, if you see trash on the trail, it won’t bite; go ahead and take it home too. If you see woodland creatures on the trail, they will bite, don’t take those. In fact, try to go in ninja mode on hikes. Try silencing your phone and see how well you can move silently through the outdoors. You’ll learn a lot more about what’s around you by observing rather than causing the scene.

If you are with a clan of other like-minded ninjas, don’t walk four-wide on the trail; allow others the same opportunities to enjoy their hikes. If you have your sidekick-hound with you, keep him under your control and respect whatever leash laws might be in place; this will vary depending on the trail. Not only will it be a lot easier to find your inner self in all the quiet, but maybe you’ll stumble upon some wildlife lurking around the mountain as well.

Also, while the mud might not do great things for your footwear, walk through it instead of around it. Walking through the mud will help fight trail erosion and keep the areas surrounding the trail from getting trampled. Finally, don’t try and become an architect while out there. Just because there’s a bunch of down trees in an area doesn’t mean you need to make a shelter, and save the rock piles for the experts. Cairns, or stacks of rocks, are used for trail navigation, so don’t create new ones or destroy old ones just because you can.

I know I’m not supposed to eat snow but, if stranded, how do I get water? Any clever ideas my friend?

Thank you,


Being stuck in the snow in Summit can feel like being stuck in the ocean; abundant water but not a drop to drink. Luckily, here you have options. While it is a bad idea to directly eat snow, if you warm it up, it’s fair game. This can be as simple as filling your water bottle with snow and tucking it into your jacket until it has melted, or as complex as building a raging fire with two stones if you’re so inclined. If these options aren’t clever enough for you, you’re welcome to grab your glasses and a waterproof tarp and make the sun melt some for you; the end result is still the same no matter how you get there: warm it up to drink it down.

It’s a bad idea to eat snow because it will lower your core body temperature, and hypothermia can off you very quickly. The energy required by your body to try and keep you warm after consuming snow can actually also push you to dehydration even faster, according to our friends with Survivor Magazine. This probably goes without saying, but ice is the same way. Both can also cause blistering and sores on your lips and mouth which brings in a whole new set of problems you don’t want to deal with.

Also, much like finding water, be vigilant as to the appearance and odor of the snow you choose to gulp, and the surrounding area. All of us varmints can carry disease that will put a serious damper on your day, so make sure the snow isn’t yellow and there are no dead animals close by. Dead animals can be a signal of many issues ranging from a disease that caused the death, bacteria that’s gathered at the funeral site or the presence of larger animals, which just means to get your butt out of there.

Your body loses water at a very rapid rate, and these fluids need to be replaced to keep you upright, but it is important to ensure you don’t put yourself in a bad situation by drinking the wrong thing. In normal conditions people lose fluid at a rate of 2 to 3 liters per day, and this of course increases in a survival situation where you are likely to exert more energy. Try to keep calm if you get lost somewhere because panicking and trying to do more than you are capable of is a sure way to get in worse trouble. Good luck you adventurous souls, and don’t blame the goat if it doesn’t go well.

Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to quandary@summitdaily.com

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