Hunting Tips: The Competition

Mack Prioleau Hunting Tips (2)We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. I would like to share some thoughts on the competition aspect of hunting. Like any sport, competition is an undeniable aspect. But it is important to not let the competition put anyone in danger or ruin the experience for anyone. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Four Essential Hunting Tips For The Competition:

1) Getting In First

Many roads are blocked to restrict vehicle access to the hunting areas. This means that you will only be able to access the area by foot or horse. Hunters will typically arrive at the gates early in the morning and hike up the roads. But you can beat everyone else by parking at the gate at night and sleep over. If you want to stake claim to the hunting area first, then consider taking a light sleeping back and searching for a clear area to camp out. You should position yourself in the back area in an elevated spot away from the road. Once you are settled, you can take a nap and wait for other hunters to push deer your way as the shooting hours approach.

2) Big-Game Honey Holes

If you are in big country and want to find a place where you have a high chance of finding big game, then you should look to find a heavily timbered canyon with no roads or major trails at the bottom. Most hunters will avoid descending into these spots because they know that they will need to climb back out. The idea of hauling a deer or elk out of the bottom is a double nightmare that will make hunters even more prone to avoiding these potentially game-rich spots. While this location will create more work for you, if you goal is to find the quality game, it will be worth the effort.

3) Drive Double-Dipping

If you are able to learn the drive of another group of hunters, then you may be able to use this information to your advantage. Find a location well away from the group in heavy cover where a scared deer might run after the other group frightens it away. This technique is ethically acceptable if you keep a reasonable distance from the party and do not interfere with the drive of the group.

4) Don’t Follow The Leader

If you are tracking a deer in the snow and discover that another hunter has come upon the same tracks (meaning they are in front of you), there is obviously no reason to keep following. You are better off making a  quick circle and attempting to ambush the deer. There is a good chance that the other hunter will keep pushing the deer ahead, hopefully to you. You will want to keep a considerable distance from where you think the hunter might be; this should be at least a half mile or more.

If you would like to learn more hunting tips, please check out my blog on hunting strategies and hunting tracking tips.

The Walk Across Arizona

The Walk Across Arizona is a visual film project of an 800-mile solo hike from the Utah to the Mexico Border via the Arizona trail. This project, brought to you by TArwood Media, began back in 2011 with the intention of exhibiting Arizona’s vast beauty and diversity by thru hiking from Utah to the Mexico border. They wanted this to be a visual reference for anyone interested in the newly completed Arizona Trail. As you will see in the video, the trip consisted of a wide array of challenges — everything from 105° heat to a daylong hail storm. Finding water was by far the most difficult part of the trail for them. On average, only 1-2 gallons of water was consumed a day. As the creators describe, this project literally took blood, sweat, and tears to complete. It is certainly worth checking out, and if you would like to learn more then check out their YouTube Channel.

A Breath of Life

I recently came across this moving surfing documentary that I thought would be great to share. Check out the description and video below!

To some people, surfing is a way of life. From birth, they are taught that the ocean is a resource, a place of healing, and something you never turn your back on. The lives of most surfers consist of traveling around the world in search of the perfect waves. They have built careers from it. Without the ocean, their lives would be incomplete. To cystic fibrosis patients, the ocean is something entirely different, it is a way to prolong their lives. For years, researchers have explored the connection between Cystic Fibrosis and the ocean. It was noted that in Australia, kids with Cystic Fibrosis who surfed all the time had better lung functions then the kids who were not in the ocean on a regular basis. They attributed this to the fact that the oceans high content of saline helps expel the secretions from the lungs.

In 2007, brothers, James and Charles Dunlop read an article about this connection. Being life long surfers themselves, decided to do something about it. It started first as just a simple idea: Get kids with cystic fibrosis surfing. What resulted was something incredible. Cystic fibrosis patients have to schedule their lives around hours of breathing treatments, chest therapy, and about 45 pills a day in order to stay healthy. Surfing is the one treatment that has proven to help cystic fibrosis patients more than ever. The oceans high content of saline acts as a natural lubricant which clears their lungs and makes breathing easier.

 

Only the Essential: Pacific Crest Trail Documentary

This documentary presents the cinematic story of a 2668 mile thru-hike on America’s premiere long distance footpath, the Pacific Crest Trail. In the summer of 2013 Casey Gannon and Colin Arisman thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with cameras in hand. “Only The Essential” is the story of their 5 month, 2668 mile journey on foot from Mexico to Canada across the wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington. The documentary is filmed entirely by hikers. If you are interested in learning more, check out their website: http://www.wildconfluence.com/ote

Essential Hunting Tips: Tracking

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As any good hunter knows, the learning process never ends. There are always new strategies to try to make yourself a safer and more responsible hunter. Over the years, hunters have done a good job of sharing their experiences and successes. Last week I discussed some great hunting strategies to help you have a more effective hunt. This week I would like to share some essential tracking tips. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Six Essential Hunting Tips For Tracking:

1) How To Follow A Blood Trail

To properly follow a blood trail, you are going to need to move quietly as you track. Be on the lookout for quarry, which may be bedded just ahead of you. If you are out with other hunters, it is important that you all communicate with hand signals. Make sure that you are all familiar with the hand signals you will be using beforehand. Every time you see a spot of blood, mark it with a piece of toilet paper or flagging; please remember to remove these later.

2) Do Not Give Up

As any seasoned hunter knows, many times the blood trail that you followed a long way will peter out to absolutely nothing. That is not a good sign because it means the animal is still going strong. However, this does not mean that the animal was not already fatally wounded. You should not give up on your blood trail. Keep searching the area for tiny spots of blood; get on your hands and knees, if necessary, to try and find a sign.

3) Look Up For Blood

When you are tracking a wounded animal, do not focus only on the ground for signs of blood. You should also be actively looking for traces of blood higher up on the sides of trees, on grass heaps, and on stems of a bush. Sometimes we become so focused in on traces of blood on the forest floor that we completely miss vital clues off the ground.

4) Call The Spot

If you drop an animal at a long distance, especially in a brushy area where it is more difficult to see the land, remember to make a mental note of where the animal stood at the shot. It is extremely important to find the precise area so that you can pick up the blood trail easily and track down the animal as fast as possible.

5) Beware Of The Instant Drop

An animal that drops at the shot is actually more likely to run off than an animal that does not go down and instead runs some distance before falling. An animal that falls immediately may only be doing so because of shock. Once it recovers from the shock it will begin running. If you see an animal drop instantly, stay put and be prepared for a quick follow-up shot.

6) No Eye Pokes

If you watch hunting shows, you will often see hosts walk up to a fallen animal and prod it with the firearm muzzle to make sure that it’s dead. You should avoid this course of action at all costs. The last thing you want to do is poke the animal and have it leap up when you are so close that you cannot take action. Instead, you should toss a stone or branch in its direction and look for a reaction. If the animals eyes are closed, it is probably still alive. If there are any signs of life, shoot it in the throat under the chin to administer a humane coup de grâce and not waste meat.

 

10 Essential Hunting Tips: Strategies

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Hunting is an incredibly fun and exhilarating sport, however, it can also be a very dangerous sport at the same time. That is why it is important to be familiar with and understand all the different strategies, rules, and safety measures. With the help of this Outdoor Life article, I would like to provide a running list of hunting tips so that we can all be better hunters. First, I would like to provide you with some key hunting strategies.

1) Go Slow, Have Patience

When still-hunting, most of us do not move slowly enough or stay in position long enough. Next outing, you should try using a watch as a guide. Decide on a period of time to stand still, such as 5-7 minutes. This way you will be forced to remain quiet and silent for this minimum amount of time. Having your eye on the clock will make sure you are not moving too quickly.

2) Stay Quiet

If you make a loud noise while you are outside, stop and stand there as long as you can if you suspect animals to be close by. A deer might stand a long time and stare in your direction, and if it sees you moving then it may run away. But if it doesn’t see or smell you, then it might go back to feeding or whatever else it was doing before it was disturbed. So when you accidently make a loud noise, stay put and wait it out.

3) Quick-Stepping For Deer

Deer are very good at detecting a human cadence as we talk through noisy leaves. Next time, try taking quick steps in a short sprint (10-20 yards), pause, and then do it again. If you can keep your footfalls as light as possible then you will likely sound much like a squirrel scrambling through the leaves instead of a human.

4) Design A Better Drive

All too often hunters will place standers in front of and alongside the area being driven. The problem is that deer will often wait for hunters to pass and then sneak back and run off in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is a good idea to position a stander in the rear where the drive originated to prevent the deer from sneaking away.

5) Judge the Quarry’s Place

You should always try to anticipate where the animal will be when you finish your stalk. Before you start, watch the quarry long enough to determine its direction and rate of travel if it is actively feeding or walking. You should then pick your destination accordingly.

6) Follow With Care

When you are tracking an animal, remember that the quarry will be alert to its back trail. A fresh track requires you to practically still-hunt, as opposed to merely following. This is especially true if the animal is not “lined out” but is taking bites of browse as it goes.

7) Clear Shooting Lanes

When you get into your tree stand, practice taking up shooting positions for all the directions where an animal may appear. After you have a good idea of your shooting lanes, try to remove any branches that are in the line of fire. You should then take up the position that requires the least amount of movement to turn in any direction to your desired shooting lanes.

8) Sweep Away Blind Clutter

If you are sitting in a ground blind or standing next to a tree, then you should sweep away leaves and brush with your boot so that the area is clean of forest debris. Clearing the area will help to eliminate unnecessary noise if you make a move when an animal is approaching.

9) Pick Better Landmarks

While you are stalking an animal, making a big circle and coming up behind it, it’s easy to become confused as you change your location. Pick a distinctive object on the skyline that you can recognize from the back, such as a tree, fence line, rock, or other landmark that you can use to help guide you to the correct spot.

10) Drive Solo

If you are hunting alone then you should try a one-man drive. Purposely walk into an area with the wind at your back. The goal is to stir deer up and get them moving. Once you have passed through, make a circle and do it again. This should be able to confused the deer as to your location. If this doesn’t work then you should take a position on the flank of the area you walked through and wait an hour or two.

The Most Impressive Adventures Of 2015

Over the course of the past year, we witnessed some of the most impressive adventures in recent memory. From speed records to first ascents to daring expeditions, there is a seemingly endless list of crazy adventures that people took on. Outside Magazine recently wrote a piece highlighting some of the most incredible accomplishments over the past 12 months. Below are five of my favorite adventures from the past year.

Dawn Wall Free Climb – Caldwell and Jorgeson

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As the sun set in Yosemite on January 14th, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed what may be the most difficult ascent in the history of rock climbing. They remained on the Dawn Wall of El Capitan for 19 days, climbing 3,000 vertical feet along widely spaced, razor thin granite holds. The prize for their accomplishment: the first people to complete a free ascent (using only ropes to catch falls) of the route. Months later, Jorgeson spoke on the difficulty of the climb: “I climbed brick façades as a kid. You’d kind of stick your fingers in there. But sink in those bricks so they barely stick out from the wall. That’s what you’re dealing with.”

The First Ski-Mo Attempt on Makalu

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A team of five elite climbers and skiers joined together in September to attempt the first ski descent of Makalu. Located on the border of Nepal and China, Makalu is the world’s fifth-highest peak (at 27,776 feet). The team made it higher than 25,000 feet before setting off a series of avalanches that caused them to turn around. The decision to retreat was a tough decision for the group to make. Expedition leader Adrian Ballinger wrote at the time: “Deciding to climb and ski a peak like Makalu always meant we would have to accept a level of risk. What level is ‘acceptable’ is deeply personal. Each of us has a different tolerance.”

Lonnie Dupre Solo Summit of Denali in Winter

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This was the fourth attempt to summit Denali by the 53-year-old polar explorer, and his persistence finally paid off. In January, after 25 days of climbing and camping in subzero conditions, Dupre became the first person to make it up North America’s highest peak (20,237 feet) in the dead of winter. During the winter, the snow is deep, the air is frozen, and the storms are treacherous. Tucker Chenoweth, Denali’s mountaineering ranger, compared Dupre’s ascent to “heading out onto the moon by yourself.”

Unsupported Run of the Appalachian Trail – Heather Anderson

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Heather Anderson, a 34-year-old personal trainer from Michigan, set the speed record last fall for running the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail, without any assistance, in just 54 days. In case it is difficult to comprehend these numbers, consider this to the 46 days it took famed ultrarunner, Scott Jurek, to complete the trail, with assistance. His team provided hot meals, medical supplies, and a bed at the end of every day. Anderson now holds the unassisted speed records of both the UT and the Pacific Crest Trail and is the first women to do so.

Niagara Falls Ice Climb – Will Gadd

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The Canadian ice climber, Will Gadd, has done some pretty impressive stuff in his life. But scaling a frozen shoulder of Niagara Falls last January was absolutely incredible. Gadd climbed the ice while six million cubic feet of water ripped down the falls each second right next to him. The 47-year-old adventurer kept his poise and clawed his way 167 feet to the top. Looking back on it days later, he described the feeling of this climb to Outside: “Normally on an ice climb, if you fall in the first 20 feet you might land in the snow and walk away. Here, if you fall, you go into the world’s most savage mixing bowl. And it is going to fuck you up.”

Top Places To Hike In North America

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The North American landscape is incredible diverse. Anywhere you go you will likely be treated to an entirely new, picturesque terrain. If you enjoy spending your time outdoors, there are a number of different places that you need to go out and see. From the plateaus of the Grand Canyon to the forests of the Adirondacks, there is always something new to experience. As an avid hiker myself, I decided to compile a list of the best places to hike in North America.

1) Yosemite

Yosemite is one of California’s most formidable natural landscapes. In a state that offers a large number of jaw-dropping landscapes, Yosemite reigns supreme. Yosemite National Park offers nearly 1,200 square miles of spectacular scenery: towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, daunting cliff faces, and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. Despite its vast beauty, most visitor activity takes places within the seven-square mile of Yosemite Valley. This is where you will find some of the park’s most famous landmarks, including Half Dome and El Capitan.

2) Grand Canyon

No picture of the Grand Canyon will do this place justice; it is impossible to capture the scale of the Grand Canyon in a single picture. Measuring approximately 277 miles in length, up to 18 miles in width, and a mile deep, this massive chasm in northern Arizona is a natural wonder that will seriously take your breathe away. For six million years, the Grand Canyon has continued to expand with help from the Colorado River. People from all over the world travel to this remote location to gaze out over the red and orange grandeur. For a true escapist experience, you should head to the North Rim. This is where you will be able to experience backwoods camping and hardcore hiking.

3) Yellowstone

From the dramatic peaks to the pristine lakes, there is no shortage of beauty in Yellowstone. You will find multicolored pools swirling around hot springs, verdant forests weaving past expansive meadows, and volatile geysers launching streams of steaming water into the air. When John Colter first told people of the geothermal curiosities that he had scene in Yellowstone in 1807, people suspected him of embellishing. But now there is no doubts about the extraordinary beauty of this area. As you traverse the park’s 3,000-plus square miles, you will be treated to views of mountains, canyons, geysers, waterfalls, as well as some of the permanent residents like buffalo, elk and even grizzlies.

4) Banff

There is no need to travel across seas to experience the lifestyle of a Swiss skiing village. Instead, head north to Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies near the southeastern border of Banff National Park. Banff caters to the fearless explorers who prefer to end the day in a nice hotel rather than roughing it in the woods or campgrounds. There are more than 80 trails in the area, with top off striking vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the hoodoo rock formations along the Tunnel Mountain Trail.

5) Kauai

The oldest island in the Hawaiian chain is perfect for the no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. Kauai is the perfect place to take in rural, colorful nature. If you are looking for a hiking getaway, looking no further than this island. Outdoor enthusiasts will have an amazing time hiking along Kauai’s scenic cliffsides and testing their stamina while taking on the 11-mile Kalalau Trail.

6) Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is home to over 700 miles of hiking trails throughout northwestern Montana. This is a great spot for animal lovers as well: this national park is full of diverse wildlife.. Do not be surprised if you see mountain goats, elk or even grizzly bears while you are taking in the scenery of the pristine mountains, and fresh water streams.

7) Sedona

A trip to Sedona feels as though you have just landed on Mars. There are numerous trails that lead you through red rock canyons and mystical “vortexes.” The towering red rocks and jagged sandstone buttes juxtaposed against the almost always blue sky have attracted hikers, as well as artist, for years. When you are done exploring Red Rock State Park, go visit the Palatki Heritage Site to see ancient Hopi dwellings.

8) Adirondacks

A few hours north of the Big Apple, you will find the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. With 2,000 miles of trails in the region and 46 high peaks, hikers can experience a change in scenery and a new view every time they go outdoors. Aside from hiking, there are plenty of other activities in the region as well: kayak through the St. Regis Canoe Area or paddle down Old Forge’s famous canoe route. The nature lovers can rough it in the woods, while others can experience what the luxury cabins and lodges in the area have to offer.

The Best Bass Fishing Techniques

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Bass are extremely abundant in North America, making them the most popular gamefish in North America. Although they can be found almost everywhere, it does not mean that you will be catching a bunch of fish when you hit the water. Catching bass takes much more than just throwing your line out there and hoping a hungry fish comes along. As this article points out, catching bass fish comes down to proper technique. Therefore, I would like to share some of the best techniques that you should master in order to maximize your performance as a bass fisher.

Pitching

You will want to let out enough line so that it is about even with the real, and keep your real open. Lower the rod tip towards the water, and with your free hand, grab hold of the lure and pull the line to add tension. In one, smooth motion let go of the lure while swinging your rod tip up. If done correctly, this combination should slingshot the bait towards your target. Make sure that you close the real as soon as the bait lands because bass tend to strike quickly.

Flipping

Flipping can take a little more practice, but after you get the feel for it, you can really optimize your presentation and hit your target location much more accurately than you can by pitching. You will want to begin by letting out somewhere between 8-15 feet of line and then close your real. You should then grab the line between the reel and first rod guide, followed by an extension of your arm to the side as you pull on the line. As you raise the rod, the bait will now swing towards you. Use a pendulum motion to swing the bait to your desired location while feeding the line through your hand. Tighten up the remaining slack and prepare for a strike. Flipping may look a little awkward, but it is an effective way to drop on some shy bass.

Topwater

Catching a bass with a surface lure can be a very exciting and fun experience. The sound of the lure, the sight of an approaching fish, and the big splash when a largemouth bass strikes will be sure to get anybody’s heart racing. Topwater lures are meant for hungry, active fish (unlike the pitching or flipping techniques). The lure is designed to attract attention with noise and dramatic movements. There are several different types of surface lures, including poppers, jitterbugs, and frogs. While some topwater lures are easy to control and work best at slow speeds, others can take much more technique. Check out the video below to learn more about the different techniques.

Crankbaits

A crankbait defends entirely on reflex for a bass. The bass will not want to chase down the crankbait as they do for a surface lure, however, noise and presentation is still key to using a crankbait correctly. They cover a lot of water, both horizontally and vertically, at a variety of depths. This technique works best around solid objects, such as rocks, logs, and stumps. You want to think of crankbaits as a teasing lure: grab the fish’s attention by reeling quickly, then stopping and allowing the crankbait to slowly rise. You will then want to real up again and make another stop. This technique can really drive the bass crazy.

Check out Karl Kolonka fishing crankbaits on Extreme Angler TV here.

Spinner Bait

Spinner baits can be trickier because they can be harder to hook a fish successfully given the lure’s design. These baits, however, are great year-round and can produce results on any given day on any lake. But much like the crankbait, these work best around some solid structure. Retrieval should range between a slow to medium speed. There are several different ways to use this lure. For one of the more popular methods, allow the spinner bait to fall to the bottom near a drop off. As it hits bottom, real up the slack, then allow it to fall to the bottom again. The slower you real in, the deeper the bait tends to swim through the water. If you real in at a faster rate, make sure you do not breach the surface. If you hang out below the water, you will create a wake that some fish find irresistible.

Jerkbait

This is probably the most simple technique for bass fishing and it is also the easiest to pick up. The hard part is figuring out what jerkbait to use and when you should use it. The lures come in a variety of shapes and sizes that swim at different depths. Regardless of the lure, however, the goal remains the same: you are trying to imitate a wounded fish. When you jerk the rod tip with a little twitch while you real in, it gives the impression that your jerkbait is not swimming at full health. The bass will love to go after that ‘easy meal.’

Dropshotting

Dropshotting is a finesse form of fishing that will require a little more effort to rig up. If you have experience fishing with a plastic worm, then you should be able to quickly adapt to dropshotting. The length between the worm and sinker can range anywhere from a few inches up to a foot-and-a-half; the distance depends on how muddy the lake floor is and how high you want the bait suspended from the bottom. The key to this technique is making your bait dance.

15 Essential Tips For A Successful Hike

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Proper planning and preparation are necessary for any venture into the great outdoors. Hiking is an extremely fun activity, but it is important to understand the dangerous that can accompany it. An experienced hiker will know how important it is to be prepared for any possible situation. Here are 15 essential tips that will help you have a successful and enjoyable hike.

1) Let People Know Your Hiking Plans

Let people know your hiking plans in case something bad happens to goes wrong while you are on the hiking trail. That way if you are not done by a certain time, there will be somebody that can send for help.

2) Study Maps Before The Hike

You need to have a good plan for the hike you will be making and a good estimate for how long it is going to take you. Looking at the trail map beforehand will ensure that you are well prepared for what you will be taking on.

3) Check The Weather 

Keep on eye on the weather before you hit the trails. You should know what conditions to expect while you are outside so that you can pack and dress accordingly.

4) Avoid Clothing Made Of Cotton 

There a number of reasons that cotton should be avoided for hiking. When cotton gets wet, it does not provide good insulation. Cotton absorbs water like a sponge and when the air is colder than the boy’s temperature, you can get really cold in cotton clothing. Modern synthetic materials are much more breathable and lightweight option over cotton, providing better airflow and giving you more comfort.

5) Wear Appropriate Footwear

Trail shoes or hiking boots are great. You should try and find the appropriate hiking boots that match exactly what conditions you normally take on. If you need help deciding on the right hiking boots, check out this article.

6) Hike In A Group

Not only does hiking in a group make the experience much more fun, but you can learn a lot from others, impart your knowledge and distribute the loads for common group gear (first aid, flashlight, etc). Furthermore, you will have somebody to help you in case something unfortunate happens during the hike.

7) Bring Small Snacks

Small snacks will help you keep your energy levels up in-between your larger meals. You are not always going to want to wait for a big lunch, especially when you have emptied your body’s reserves after a few hours of hiking.

8) Stay Hydrated

Make sure that you bring enough water for the day. It is important that you drink water regularly throughout the day.

9) Bring Sunscreen & Hat

Even when it is cloudy you will be getting a great deal of sun on the trails. Sunscreen and a hat will ensure that your body is well protected from the elements.

10) Leave No Trace

It is a privilege to be able to hike and explore the outdoors, do not ruin the experience for others. Whatever you bring on you hike should return with you when you are finished.

11) Bring Essential Safety Items

An experienced hiker will have all the essential safety items for a hike. You never know what is going to happen while you are out on the trail, therefore, you should be prepared for the worst-case scenarios.

12) Bring A First Aid Kit 

Make sure that you inspect your first aid kits before each hiking. Replace any items that have already been used, especially those that are used to start a fire.

13) Know The Poisonous Plants

Familiarize yourself with what the various poisonous plants look like because you are definitely going to want to avoid making contact with them on your hike –  poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

14) The Right-of-Way

When going downhill, yield to those hiking uphill. It is much more difficult to go up the mountain, so you should avoid getting in their way and stopping their momentum.

15) Create Space For Others

When hiking in a group, be mindful of other hikers. Your group should avoid taking up the entire trail so that others can pass by without having to go off the path.