Woman Refuses to Yield on Trail: “It’s rude expecting someone to move for you.” “You shouldn’t be walking so spread out on the trail”

During a weekend hike, a simple trail encounter turned heated. A family of four and a larger group clashed, not once but twice, on the winding paths.

This unexpected face-off sparked debate: How should we act on hiking trails? And do traditional gender roles play a part in these unspoken rules?

The Initial Encounter

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The family, consisting of two adults and two children, enjoyed a camping trip when they first encountered the larger group on a trail.

The family aligned in a single file to allow passage but were compelled to step off the trail as the approaching group, walking three across, did not make way.

The mother felt that this behavior was vulgar, highlighting a lack of trail etiquette.

A Second Meeting

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Later, the family encountered the same group coming from the opposite direction. This time, the mother decided not to step aside, resulting in a collision with a man from the larger group.

A verbal exchange followed,

“He said ‘Hey! Be careful!’ I said ‘Excuse me? You shouldn’t be walking so spread out on the trail. It’s rude expecting someone to move for you.’”

“He then asked me if I was calling his family rude, and my husband just grabbed my arm and told me to leave it.”

Irritation Over Ignored Etiquette

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One commenter expressed irritation over people ignoring trail etiquette, stating that confrontations can be tricky as you never know who might be unstable.

“Trail etiquette is a thing and it is incredibly irritating when people ignore it.”

“Patriarchy Chicken”

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Another one brought attention to the concept of “patriarchy chicken,” where women refuse to move out of the way of men, as they are conditioned to do.

“Every time I focus my energy on holding my ground while walking in public, I collide with SO MANY MEN. I’ve learned to brace my shoulder when walking into them so I don’t get hurt, but the number of times I’ve been almost knocked off my side of the sidewalk by two or more men who should have defaulted to single file when going by me is infuriating.”

Support for Standing Ground

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Several people supported the mother’s decision to stand her ground, with one stating that the larger group was displaying “narcissistic entitlement.”

Another one mentioned that they would have done the same thing and that they were tired of being the only person to ‘give way.’

Concerns for Safety

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While many supported the family, there were also safety concerns. Some pointed out that confrontations with strangers can escalate and become dangerous, emphasizing the importance of choosing battles wisely.

Knowing the Right of Way

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Understanding and respecting the right of way is fundamental to trail etiquette. The National Park Service emphasizes the importance of checking signage for the trail you are hiking and following the correct right-of-way yields.

In the incident discussed earlier, the larger group’s failure to yield the right of way to the family led to the confrontation, highlighting the need for awareness and adherence to these unwritten rules.

Making Yourself Known

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Another essential aspect of trail etiquette is making oneself known, especially when approaching other hikers from behind.

A friendly greeting or a polite announcement can prevent surprises and ensure a smooth passage for all parties involved. This practice contributes to a respectful and considerate trail environment.

Staying on Designated Trails

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Staying on designated trails is not only respectful to other hikers but also crucial for preserving the natural environment.

Venturing off the trail can lead to soil erosion, damage to vegetation, and disruption to wildlife habitats. The National Park Service ¹ advises hikers to be mindful of their surroundings and stay within the boundaries of established trails.

Respect for All Trail Users

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Trail etiquette extends to respecting all trail users, regardless of their mode of travel, group size, or experience level. Mutual respect and courtesy form the foundation of a positive trail experience for everyone. The confrontation could have been avoided had the two groups had mutual respect and understanding.

Trail etiquette is a set of guidelines and practices that aim to foster a respectful and harmonious experience for all trail users. By following the right of way, making oneself known, staying on designated trails, and showing respect for all, hikers can contribute to a positive and enjoyable environment on the trails.

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of these principles and the need for awareness and consideration in shared outdoor spaces.

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  1. nps.gov/articles/hikingetiquette.htm

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter. It was inspired by this Reddit thread.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.