8 Tips to leave the Trail Green (+Bonus Tip)

As a hiker, you have a responsibility – to give back to nature what it deserves!
That’s it; it’s as simple as that.
Respect it, that’s all it asks for.
As a hiker, don’t you think you should…?…

1. Leave no trace: Preserve the natural habitat as it is. Do not mess with or spoil the trail. Leave it for the others to enjoy too. As the common philosophy goes ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’, don’t leave a trace of your path. Keep it clean and green to the best extent possible. Do not litter. There is no debating that. Garbage, harmful habits and carelessness can alter the ecosystem. Don’t mess with the natural habitat. Live and let live. In fact, you must contribute to the cleanliness of the environment. Trails and camping zones specifically reserved for ‘leave no trace camping’ have designated spots for camping. It is advisable to stick to these spots, rather than venture away.

2. Stay quiet: Of course, you can talk. What we mean is that avoid blasting your speakers or music pod. Making too much noise can scare birds and animals away. Not just any animal, but a bear or snow leopard too gets hassled and scared by minimal human intrusion within their territory.


3. Visit like a guest: People head to a spot in herds, especially if it starts gaining popularity. The effects of hundreds of thousands of people could be very significant. What if a visitor dumps pieces of trash in your home and takes away a showpiece from your room on his way out. Will you let that happen? Then why would you want to do that to the animal’s homes? Remember, you are mere visitors entering THEIR territory. Walk in like a guest, pay your due respect and walk out with memories, not natural souvenirs. Don’t be a ‘nature thief’.

4. Conserve the environment: Travelling in the wilderness is fun. Don’t let your trails have a negative impact on the surroundings. Whether you are camping, hiking, picnicking or going on a nature walk, it is up to you to reduce or nullify the changes you make to a specific piece of land – may the changes only be positive. Setting tent on fragile grass and the delicate ground is not advisable. Some of the problems that could occur due to human disruption could be an encroachment of muddy banks, erosion, slope changes, alteration in route etc.


5. Use the right products:   Stay suited-booted in proper gear. Wear the right shoes that help and not hinder your walk. Avoid spraying strong scents or using scented toilet paper. Carry zip locks to lock away your waste to dispose at the nearest labelled dump or bin. Invest in re-sealable bags of chips or food. Carry a hand sanitizer to minimize water usage. Use eco-friendly goods and cosmetics, and natural toothpaste, rather than a strong minty one. Replace wet wipes with a wet cloth.

6. Manage your food: Building a fire pit, gathering a bunch of wood and twigs to light a fire isn’t a good idea. Think of all the natural resources you will be using and the ash that will be left behind. Instead, make wise food choices. Carry frozen foods and a small stove if you’re headed on a long trek. That should be easier and better for the environment. Although fruits and bread can be seen as harmless sources of food, do not leave the core or peel of unfinished fruits or bread crumbs behind. Anything and everything cause small changes to the environment and soil.


7. Deal with trash: Trash is a major issue of concern that has detrimental effects on marine life and animals thriving in the forests and jungles. Plastic bags and unnatural waste can choke animals, harm life under water and disrupt the natural habitat. Not only is it quite a sight for sore eyes, it dissuades hikers and fellow travellers from treading dirty paths. To dispose of excreta, make a deep hole of at least five inches in the soil and cover it with loose soil. Do this away from natural water sources or streams. Needless to say, do not urinate in water bodies. Women hikers, learn how to deal with your messy monthly situation here.

8. Stay focused: Stay focused on marked trails. Do not venture out to areas that ask you to stay away. The trails have been made for a reason. Do not pluck leaves and flowers along the way. Stay focused on preserving landscapes. Don’t leave them unsightly for others. Get and give education.

9. Bonus Tip – Use your common sense: Do we really have to remind you not to pluck flowers or not to hit every shrub that gets on your way with a stick? An important reminder is to keep your pets away. As much as you love them, getting them along could lead to grazing and soiled excreta trails. Fellow hikers, it’s a humble request – don’t head to the trails with an axe in your hands, but with a camera and good intentions only! Don’t interfere with nature – enjoy it. Have fun!


Published by

Aditi Shukla

Aditi Shukla is a traveller, explorer, soul-searcher and foodie. She loves embarking on new journeys and trying local food along the way, while documenting them on her blog Lyf&Spice (www.lyfandspice.com). She particularly loves exploring the countryside and little towns on foot, and has been nurturing her new found love for hiking for the past few years now. According to her, hiking gives a new perspective to a place and helps to uncover trails and views you would have otherwise not encountered.

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