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Hiking is one of the most enjoyable activities I can think of.  It is a great way to get out and get some exercise in the natural environment on a trail for recreational purposes. Hiking unlike backpacking involves an outing that can be completed in a day or less. Most hikes only require a good sturdy pair of shoes and some water. For extended hikes, many add a day-pack with some snacks, map, and headlamp just in case they get lost or underestimate their hiking time and end up in the dark. Sunglasses, a hat, proper clothing, and a first aid kit can also be vital depending on the weather and the terrain.

Environment and hiking Etiquette:
These days "leave no trace" is a term that most organizations use to get the message out to wilderness travelers to leave no signs of human activity once the hike is over. In some areas this even involves a quota system to minimize the number of hikers on certain trails and also the requirement to pack out solid human waste, which is the case on the Mount Whitney Trail. Just to give you an idea of the potential human impact on a heavily traveled trail such as the one mentioned above, in 2012, three and one half tons of solid human wast was hauled off the mountain.

Another established rule is who gets the right-a-way when hikers meet on a narrow section of trail. The rule is that the uphill traffic gets the right-a-way. Another rule of thumb is when in a group to let the slowest hiker go first, that way nobody gets left behind.

But after all is said and done, hiking is a great outdoor activity and you will find that traveling under your own power on foot in a beautiful environment is an exhilarating experience to say the least.

See you on the trails,
Dave French

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