How to Behave on the Trail? This Unwritten Rule Is Worth Knowing When You Go to the Mountains

    How to Behave on the Trail? This Unwritten Rule Is Worth Knowing When You Go to the Mountains

    How to Behave on the Trail? This Unwritten Rule Is Worth Knowing When You Go to the Mountains
    Greg
    12:21 PM EDT, July 20, 2023, updated: 8:24 AM EDT, July 21, 2023

    Many people going to the mountains for the first time wonder how to behave on the trail when they meet a stranger or group of people. Should one greet the person? What is this custom all about?

    freepik
    freepik

    What is this ‘Hello’ and ‘Good morning’ custom all about?

    If you have friends who one day decided to organize a trip to the mountains, you have almost certainly heard this story from them, more or less: "...Well, when we were on this trail, suddenly some strangers said hello to us and wished us a good day. And that was really confusing. Why did they greet us? After all, we didn't seem to know each other? Maybe it was a coincidence? And an hour later we ran into some people again, who did exactly the same thing. And we didn't know them either. And we began to wonder if there were some unknown rules on these trails to which it was appropriate to adhere...".

    An old custom

    freepik
    freepik

    Almost all experienced mountain hikers have the habit of saying hello to other people they encounter on the trail. They also often wish them a good day or something similar, even though they don't know them completely. Such customs prevail in the mountains. In many different places around the world you can encounter exactly the same thing. Where did this come from and why is it so?

    "He's trekking - he must be ok."

    These days, hiking in the mountains is a very popular weekend hobby, but it wasn't always so. It used to be that mountain hikers considered themselves a relatively small group of fascinated people. So they greeted each other on the trail, even if they didn't know each other, because they felt they were greeting someone from their narrow circle. But this is only the first reason; the second one for many was far more important…

    It's all about safety

    pixabay
    pixabay

    The second reason was that such words of greeting allow, to a certain extent, to check whether everything is OK with the person or the group of people you meet. Mountains can be dangerous and demanding. It's easy to get sunstroke or dehydration in them, not to mention more serious ailments. Saying ‘hello’, therefore, allows you to get a better idea of whether someone needs a helping hand in a discreet and non-imposing way.

    It's all about you!

    Recently, an interesting thesis on why we greet each other on the trail was put forward by Ewa Zwolska. She has got an Instagram account called 'Mewa w locie' (An airborne seagull). According to her, the purpose of greeting on the trail is to help us remember a person better in case they get lost, thus to be able to give rescuers better clues as to their location.

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