Guide to Outdoor Etiquette

Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed by our etiquette expert do not reflect the views of S+B staff. In fact, in most cases, we probably would advise doing the opposite of what is recommended here.

What new spring styles are you seeing on the trails, and how can I incorporate them into my wilderness wardrobe? 

     —  Jeff, Grand Junction

This is a perfect question for me, as what most people do not know is that a few years back I was in intense negotiations with the E! network to host a fashion/reality show. However, at the last second they went with the Kartrashian clan and I was left out in the cold. (Of course I was wearing my Loro Piana fur-lined bomber jacket, so I wasn’t feeling the chill anywhere except my heart.) When it comes to style on the trail, though, I prefer function and fit to everything else. Sure, the guy mixing plaid and argyle with his “I’m here for the beer” shirt is an original, but when he is chafing so bad that he can’t get back on the seat for a week… well, I think we have an answer. The most important thing — be it for cycling, trail running, road riding, hiking, or walking — is to make sure your gear fits properly. A proper fit will yield comfort and a more pleasant experience. Shop around locally. There are plenty of experts who will give you the guidance you need. As a last thought, know your color. I am an autumn, and the subdued hues of late fall and low light really make my eyes sparkle.

Now that spring is here, any worries about animals? 

     —  Brad, Palisade

As the winter slumber comes to an end, both humans and animals reemerge outdoors. It is always a good idea when heading into the backcountry to be wary of potential animals. Make some noise so as not to surprise them, and probably lay off the beef tenderloin cologne. Since I’m not usually a target for animals (I once had a bear pick me up and use my leg as a toothpick before discarding me), I would strongly recommend visiting the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s website for any questions:

With trailheads getting a bit more crowded, I’m noticing people parking, etc., everywhere at the trailhead. Thoughts on etiquette? 

     —  Anne, Fruita

I know where you are going with this. Group ride/run and then a party in the parking lot. I would first say, I think we as a community do a good job keeping the trailheads clean and picking up after ourselves. Kudos to us. While sharing a bite or beverage after time on the trails is nice, it is important to remember to keep the party out of the way. There’s no need to set up chairs and a cooler in the middle of the parking lot where nobody can get by. Additionally, if you are going to change clothes, remember your body is disgusting. Utterly disgusting. Nobody wants to see it, probably not even your significant other. So, keep a little modesty in mind, and change quickly in the car. Don’t make a production out of it. One moon is enough for the world.

Any word on mountain bikes returning to Pollock Bench Trail? 

     — Karen, Grand Junction

I don’t know anything about this. While it is a great trail for running and hiking, I confess it would be pretty sweet to rip a mountain bike over there. However, I’m not privy to any of the decisions regarding that change. In the end, I heard it became quite political, which means we all lose. So, for now it is a heck of a run, hike, or horse ride.

Lightning Round!

What is your favorite trail?

An empty one.

Best undiscovered trail in the valley?

Can’t tell you. See above.

Do I have to say hello to everyone I see on the trail?

No. However, a smile or nod doesn’t hurt. After all, we can’t all be accountants staring at our shoes.

Do you do parties?

I’m sorry, I gave up my “law enforcement” career after an “incident” with my fuzzy handcuffs and tequila six shooter. Good times. :