A Different Approach Than Self Catering Vacations

By: Rob Carlton

An outdoor vacation can be a far different experience than more self catering, traditional vacations. For instance, when visiting a coastal city there are probably many other travelers in vacation rentals or hotels whether in the local city district or lined along the beach. But, they are probably there to relax and have as much fun as possible. Hiking is a different story, though.

Those residing in urban environments often forget why decided to hike. They probably came to get away from the busy city life to enjoy some peace and quiet in beautiful scenery. To allow others to enjoy that, and enjoy it themselves, hikers should heed to a few general, common sense rules.

First, a long-standing rule among hikers is the "pack it in, pack it out" expression. Basically, the goal is to leave the area like you found it. Do you leave items you brought, including trash, water bottles or other items you may have with you. This is important to keep the area clean for other hikers as well as yourself in the future.

Fragile toilet paper can even take weeks to deteriorate, and possibly months. It is recommended that you bring a roll, but if you use it and are not able to find a container in which to dispose it, you should bury it. To "pack it out," a small plastic bag can retain the odors until you are able to dispose of it in a container.

If you must urinate in the wilderness area, be sure to do so away from water sources and trails, at least at a distance of 100 meters. You should eliminate feces into a small hole far off the trail and cover it with dirt.

The peace and quiet of a hike is a significant part of the pleasure. Hiking trails are not purposed for the exciting things in a city that often bring about loud noises. When hiking, you should keep you voice and music low. Fortunately, with portable music devices today, loud music is not as much of a problem unless you insist on singing out your favorite song for all to hear.

If you are planning to set up a camp, use a Coleman or other portable stove to cook your food and set up in an open area. But, when you are finished, do not leave anything behind that won't day within at least a day. You should do the same when you are fishing or partaking of other activities.

Of course, avoid wildlife as much as they seek to avoid you. Some, though, should be avoided with no question, including bears, skunks and mountain lions among others. Bears are not always gentle creatures. Though they typically avoid humans, this is not always the case as some have killed and eaten them. Take the same safe approach to large cats. They are predators, and you do not want to be their prey.

Generally, use common sense and be considerate of other hikers. This can ensure a pleasant hike for both you and other hikers enjoying the experience!

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