Desolation Wilderness – ha! Clearly the origin of this name did not come from a lack of visitors. Last weekend I visited the most heavily used wilderness area per acre in the United States, according to Backpacker Magazine, and they weren’t kidding. With such heavy visitation, the Leave No Trace principle – Be Considerate of Other Visitors – becomes even more essential. Here are a few tips:
DON’T: Take breaks on the trail. At one point I literally had to step over someone’s feet because they were sitting on a rock next to the trail with their feet in the trail.
DO: Take breaks and camp out of sight of the trail. This allows for the feeling of solitude.
DON’T: Come charging up the trail, taking up the entire width with your pack of dogs.
DO: Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the side for others to easily pass.
|Respecting Others on the Trail|
DON’T: Let your dog run amuck in the wilderness chasing wildlife and harassing other visitors.
DO: Control your dog verbally or with a leash. While you may think your dog is cute, cuddly, and incredibly well-behaved – others may not be dog people, or had a bad experience with dogs, or have their own dog that doesn’t like to be overwhelmed by your pack of dogs. Aspen has learned a new trick of walking behind me on the trail, this way when I see wildlife or people coming I can grab the handle on her pack and make sure she stays right next to me.
DON’T: Dig a cathole right next to the trail and bury your toilet paper with it.
DO: Find a secluded spot with a nice view 200 feet from a water source to dig a cathole. More people = more poop and toilet paper in the ground. Pack out your toilet paper safely in a zip lock bag hiding in another bag – no one will be the wiser and wildlife won’t come dig it up before it can decompose. Oh, and if you think you found a nice spot to answer Mother Nature’s call it is likely that someone had that same thought before – look for signs of recent catholes and dig with caution. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous use a RestStop 2, Wag Bag, or other portable toilet system to pack out your solid human waste.