Sharing the trail with other users is a good thing. It means lots of people can get out and enjoy the mountains in various different ways: hiking, running, cycling, or on horseback. However, the different ways people hit the trail are not always compatible. My gut sense tells me that it’s because some people have decided that the posted rules, common sense, and human curtesy do not apply to them.
How did I come to this wise and well-thought-out conclusion? It could be from the cyclers who come down hills so fast that I have literally jumped out their way to avoid death, well, or at least dismemberment. It could be from the large dog that bounded around a switch back and came at me, growling and teeth bared. When I calmly asked the owner, who I couldn’t see, to please call their dog. I got a yell in response, “Oh, he’s friendly.” And I love dogs, more than a lot of people I know, but put a leash on them already.
I’m on the trail, not to get the fastest time, not to see my dog run free in nature, not to scare the living daylights out of some unsuspecting wildlife or other trail user. I leave before dawn to enjoy the silence, see some deer or elk or moose, or even a chittering squirrel or two. I look around me at the flowers, the trees, or the mountains in the distance. I breathe in the smell of fresh rain from the night before, the chill of the morning air, the deep layers of earth and I am filled.
If you aren’t out there to take it all in, if all you want is to speed down hills or watch your dog run free, why not do it on a road or at a dog park? Or at the very least, use a leash, slow down a bit and let’s all enjoy the trail.