Hiking Etiquette & Food on the Road

Whistler Travel Blog

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Here's some great hiking info from my Lazy Dazy friend, Andrew, who is terrifically helpful and whose advice I trust:

I had asked:

"Another hiking dilemma: who has the right-of-way: Those coming up the hill or those coming back down, since they’ve been farther? I’ve heard both ways. Do you greet people on the trail or pretend they’re invisible? Do you talk while hiking to avoid the bears or be quiet to enjoy the silence?"

Hi, Tessa.

I don't think these are "official" rules, but here's what I've always done:

1. hikers coming up the hill have right-of-way. It's harder for them to look up the trail (hikers coming down have a great view of the trail before them) and it's also harder for them to regain their stride/momentum if they have to stop (especially those with loaded backpacks).

2. always greet people, even if only an out-of-breath "hi" while struggling uphill. My observation over the years has been that's "true"-hikers/backpackers are the most friendly. "touristy" hikers (like in crowded National parks) are a mixed lot - some friendly, some not.

3. mostly enjoy the quiet while of course being alert for bears, but occasionally talk or make enough noise that any bears around know you're there. If you're anywhere where you can safely create echoes (no avalanche threats), then a good "helllooooo" is always fun and that's sure to alert any bear within a few miles that people are around.

The lady who yelled "coming through" for you was practicing good hiking etiquette. Slow hikers should always try to make way for faster hikers. Of course you say thanks as you pass them.

Another easy courtesy is to be aware of how much dust you kick up for the folks behind you. This probably wasn't an issue on a glacier, but most trails tend to be dusty. Besides, it's always better to pick up your feet while hiking. One of my nephews had a problem with this....he looked like Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoon...a cloud of dust always around him. :-)

Short story about rule#2: years ago my sister & I backpacked the Napali coast in Kauai. We were struggling uphill with loaded packs and barely managed a glance up & a short "hi" to someone coming downhill. A minute later we stopped, looked at each other and burst out laughing.

The guy who passed us had been wearing socks, hiking boots and a large backpack...and nothing else.



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Are you wondering how we eat on the road?  Maybe this info will help someone. 


This is how we do it:


Travel Food:

We need our meals to be nutritious, fast to prepare, and preferably edible.  Those are our most important criteria.  Our focus is on the places we’re visiting, not on our food.


Food for “RV touring” is different than food when camping for the fun of the great outdoors and playing pioneer.  For the latter, you want good campfire food:  hot dogs, hamburgers (with real buns, not bread slices), s’mores, etc.  While that’s great fun, we haven’t the energy, time, or resources (firewood/charcoal require storage space) to cook such intensive meals. 


Local Food:

We rarely eat out:  It’s far too inconvenient, unhealthy, and expensive.  However, if there’s a highly-recommended place, a local specialty, or a historic dining opportunity (like Old Faithful), then we try to make a point of visiting it. 


We’re also doing our “Best Pizza in the World” research, which certainly hits the spot for an occasional snack.


We enjoy local treats:  homemade cinnamon rolls in Alaska, ice cream, elk jerky, local jams, syrups, honey, chocolates, halibut in Homer, etc.  This makes us feel culinary-involved locally.


Here are some examples of our meals:


Breakfast:  Cereal, milk, my coffee, hot chocolate if kids want

Very rarely we cook up pancakes or eggs, toast, and heat-and-serve bacon or sausage - this gets us on the road later and we’re usually plenty late already.


Lunch:  Sandwiches (pb&j or ham), soup, or rarely leftovers (I have teenagers-there are no leftovers!)




Carrots with ranch

Apples with birch syrup caramel dip

Granola bar


Appetizers:  (when we’re really hungry and dinner will take some prep time)

Cheese slices with crackers

Tortilla chips with salsa



Typical Dinners: 


We use the Stove or Oven:  Cooked on the stove, simple, and very quick.  Sometimes, we use our RV oven (lots of brownies)


90% of our camping is “dry” with no hookups and we are often restricted for when we can use the generator (it’s noisy and uses gasoline).  Thus we avoid using the microwave.  Due to space, we left our little Weber Baby-Q at home, so no grill.  We haven’t used our Coleman outdoor propane stove at all.


We need it fast:  Cooking timeframes on travel days need to be around 15 minutes.  We might stop for “dinner camp” at a lovely roadside rest area, cook and eat overlooking a river or spectacular mountain by candlelight, then clean up, and drive for another two hours.  (Note:  This is easiest when the sun sets late in the day.  Arriving in a campground after dark is a no-no)


We keep it simple:  A tip from the book “Adventure Travel with Kids” is to make “one pot meals” which include a carbohydrate base (pasta, rice, etc) and add in meat and veggies.  One pot reduces cleanup time and resources (water and filling the holding tanks).    She notes that traditional foods in countries where resources are conserved include this type of cooking (i.e.  China, India, etc).


Instead of cooking 2 veggies, I heat just one nutritious veggie like spinach, broccoli, corn, or peas.


Then I add a sliced fruit, carrot sticks, salad, or canned fruit.  They require no cooking and no additional pans (can be prepped and served in a paper bowl).


We like it nutritious:  We start dinner by searching the RV for carbs, protein, fruits and vegetables to make dinner.  Storage space is limited.  Having to eat food that’s available can lead to creative meals. 


Easy Meats:  Freezing, defrosting, and cooking meat is not something I enjoy, so we have limited meat.  Canned chicken and tuna are useful.  Meats within frozen meals are popular.  Prepared hamburger patties can be cooked in a skillet as burgers or chopped up for use in another dish.  Frozen boneless/skinless chicken strips can be stir-fried quickly.


Here are some sample dinners we might have:

Pasta with marinara sauce, salad

Rehydrated beef stroganoff in a bag, frozen peas

Stouffer’s frozen lasagna, broccoli

Skillet in a bag, frozen peas, carrots

Soft tacos with hamburger, cheese, & salsa, salad

Salmon chowder or Campbell’s soup, cheese crackers, frozen broccoli or spinach

Rice with chicken, broccoli and teriyaki sauce, corn

Ken’s fresh Halibut, frozen peas, pineapple

Crockpot frozen meal in a bag boiled on the stove, spinach

Chicken noodle soup supplemented with ramen noodles (no added seasoning), veggie

Shredded pork in BBQ sauce- heat and serve in plastic container (from Wal-Mart)


We’ve all lost some weight on this trip.  It could be due to limited snacking, limited meal options, less meat, more exercise, or our cooking.  We’re eating for nutrition and not necessarily for flavor.


However, I think we’re more grateful for our food- maybe because we’re hungry, we appreciate any edible food.  It seems like a little miracle when we’re able to create a really fast, nutritious meal.  Shopping and cooking together provide good life lessons for the kids.  We shop carefully due to space considerations.


When we get home, we’re really looking forward to a big steak on the grill- and making sushi!

katenunes says:
Hey you're going to be here in no time. We can't wait to finally meet you in person!

Kate (& Ron & Elizabeth too)

Posted on: Aug 25, 2008
photo by: alitoronto