3,918 forum posts
When I first started developing an interest in hiking and backpacking I had absolutely no idea how much I didn't know, and in fact soon learned I had several misconceptions that were still driving my decision making.
As early as the age of 9 or 10 years old I used to venture into the woods early on Saturday mornings...well, right after Scooby Doo went off.
These were short romps in the woods that usually ended with the realization that it was past lunchtime, but these Saturdays were the beginnings of a growing fascination with the outdoors.
As soon as I was 14 or 15 and able to earn some money or save up my allowance I enjoyed going to Kmart or the Army Surplus store to buy camping gear (thanks for the ride Mom).
I bought a book on survival and made sure to read the important parts. I also bought an insanely large knife (Mom & Dad didn't know and I kept it hid in the woods...cheap stainless don't rust as it turns out)
Skip forward to the age of 20 and I was working and living in the Mountains close to wilderness areas and established hiking trails. I also now had a couple friends who enjoyed hiking, though none of us had skills to match our enthusiasm or ability to bite off more than we could chew .
Twenty six years later I look back on those times with fondness and laughter. I leaned so much the hard way it is embarrassing.
Fortunately I met a guy who invited me to go hiking one Saturday with his hiking club. This was a huge turning point for me, at the age of 24 I was now in the midst of experienced hikers who had mystical gear, magical powers of navigation, and something called "Freeze Dried Meals".
I now greatly appreciate the way in which the members of the hiking club found a way to educate me and explain how to do things properly (and why cotton thermals from Kmart don't work) without being offensive to someone as hard headed as I was at that time.
At that age I didn't respond very well to people who were blunt, now that I am older I tend to appreciate it.
Well, all that brings me to my point, or my question rather.
In several instances over the past couple years where I have had newbies hiking with me (or I with them) who were... shall we say stubborn, I have apparently offended them in my effort to be helpful or to keep them from getting hurt.
Friendly young man with military experience who wore some cheap boots that were obviously causing discomfort and I was scared would lead to blisters.
Partially paraphrased -
Me: Hey, why don't we take a break up here and see what we can do to make your feet a little more comfortable...I have some moleskin and other things that might help.
Him: Nah man, that's okay. I'm not too worried about it, besides "pain is weakness leaving the body".
Me: Well, that's up to you, but I wouldn't walk for miles with a stone in my boot if I could just dump it out. (said with a smile)
After that exchange both our newly found camaraderie and his feet went straight down the tubes.
Back at the parking area he avoided talking to me and that was that.
Several years ago I was backpacking in Springtime with two other guys I had recently met.
We had been warned by the Ranger of bear activity in the area. In total disregard to the warnings (I felt) one guy was standing in a small field picking blackberries putting them in his pockets.
Me: I don't think it's a good idea for us to hang out here, the bears may consider this their own food plot...they might get agitated.
Him: The wilderness belongs to all of us man.
Me: Okay, but I'm getting back on the trail and heading on, you're on your own here.
Him: I think we should all stick together, that's not cool.
I was hoping that the members of Trailspace could offer their input on how they handle these matters. I realize you can only do just so much, and maybe I have a lot to learn about being with groups, but I tend to draw the line at joining in on dumb things.
As already stated I used to have some misconceptions about how things worked in the wilderness myself so I'm not trying to pick on anyone here, I'm just looking to learn.