Trail Etiquette


Two weeks ago we talked about gym etiquette.  (You can read about that here.)  This week it is all about hitting the trails and proper trail etiquette.  My family has had the joy of listening to me complain about these items for the last several years and they are tired of hearing about it.  Today I share it with you good people.  You are welcome in advance.

The first thing I want to stress is a basic consideration for others around you.  This means many different things.  If you are slowly ambling along the trail enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather with your five best friends, do not take up the entire trail.  The power-walking mom does not ever want to attempt off-roading a stroller in the grass so that she can pass you.  MOVE OVER.  Check over your shoulder periodically to see if anyone is stuck behind you.  This is not a funeral procession, it is a hiking trail.  Don’t hog it.  If you are riding your bike, announce your presence to a walker or jogger in front of you.   Whether you announce yourself or zoom right past, they are both going to scare the bejesus out of the person.  At least an announcement is a friendly warning.  You have options for announcing your arrival.  I prefer a “coming up on your left” in lieu of something such as, “move over fatty, I’m coming through.”  It really is all about the golden rule.

There are going to be dogs on the trail.  If you are frightened of dogs, then I suggest working through the phobia or avoiding the trails.  You do not need to cower in fear when I come by with my big dog.  He is a golden retriever; this breed might be the least aggressive big dog you will ever meet.  My golden is dominated by a four pound terrier and has been known to be frightened of his own bodily functions.  If you want to be scared of a dog, then be frightened by my adorable runt of a Yorkshire terrier.  The golden would never bite you, the dog you have deemed as safe and cute is a little ball of hate.  If you are walking with your dogs and a biker or a family with small children is trying to pass, move off the trail and let them get in front of you.  If you command your dogs to sit as you let people pass and they actually do, people will be very impressed.  They will say things like, “Are you a dog trainer?” or “Wow, your dogs are really well-behaved!”  You will shrug it off as if it is no big deal, however you will feel awesome and bask in the compliments.  It might be because you have a golden and all they want to do is please you.  While a yorky still periodically poops in the house and only halfway responds to her name.  Dog trainer, I am not.

Let’s talk a little bit about basic friendliness.  I’m within 18 inches of you as we pass, you have to see me.  I have just smiled at you, said hello, and even added in a wave to complete the total package of a friendly Texan.  You said nothing.  You couldn’t even muster the energy to give me a wink or half-hearted wave.  What is wrong with you?  I’m not asking for a discussion on abortion or gun control.  I just said hi.  The appropriate response is a hello in return.  I don’t care if you give me a nod or lift your finger and implement a “wassup” gesture.  Not acknowledging that there is a person next to you that said hello is just weird.  If I’m alone and you are a member of the opposite sex, I’m not hitting on you with a good morning.  My casual hello was not an invitation into my marital bed.  I’m just a happily married woman who believes in being friendly with others.

It is spring time here in central Texas.  The weather is gorgeous and I’m going to be hitting the trails this weekend.  Let’s bask in the beauty that is God’s creation and choose to be courteous to those around us.  Just remember to move over, announce your presence, don’t be scared of Fido, and acknowledge a hello.  For all of you bikers, runners, and/or walkers, happy trails to you!

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