Hiking is a pretty liberating experience since you get to truly immerse yourself into the gorgeous landscape of the world. But it is not without its rules, and within all rules there are always a few that are just a tad strange.
Some of these rules make sense, but the reasoning they are stated as specifically as they are is a bit strange. Others are reasonable, but only with a certain amount of context. But just a few feel completely outlandish and it is hard to understand what the story was behind this law being put forth. Here are some of the rules within hiking that are bit weird when you think about them too much.
10 Don't Hike Nude in Switzerland
This should be an obvious thing not to do, but it is apparently trendy for people to go out to trails and hike in the nude; I guess it's liberating or something? It is particularly banned in Switzerland where the act of hiking in the nude was a frequent occurrence and even turned into a joke within some hiking towns in the country.
It is not surprising that going out for a stroll in your birthday suit is illegal, as it can be offensive to people. While in most countries it is frowned upon, it is not always illegal unless you are being creepy about it. There are even tips and advice for how to do it well.
9 No "Stupid Hikers"
This is more of a hypothetical since this law did not go through, but in Phoenix, Arizona, a councilwoman wanted to push for a law which would ban “stupid hikers.” This would entail any hiker who requested emergency help due to their own negligence be charged a fee. The idea was that people who failed to be responsible when hiking would get charged a fee for being rescued, and was supposed to be a way to encourage people to be more responsible when hiking.
An example of a “stupid hiker” in her perspective was someone who did not bring water then dehydrated. While it is certainly not a wise idea to forego water in the burning inferno that is Phoenix, the law was criticized for fear that it would result in less people calling in for emergencies out of fear of getting charged. Law or no law, be prepared and know the dangers you may face when going out for a hike.
8 Norway Roaming
This is more so a lack of a rule, but in Norway you are basically able to roam around anywhere you like. The only rules are remaining some distance when residing near someone's inhabitance, being respectful towards nature, and maintaining some reasonable campfire rules
There is something warming and peaceful about being able to go around anywhere you would like within a country. You can even forage freely for foliage and fish. It’s like a vagabond wonderland!
7 No Feeding Bears
The oddity of this is not so much the rule itself, but rather concept of breaking this rule. Typically, rules are placed for the sake of keeping someone from doing something, and the notion that anyone would ever try to feed a bear is honestly baffling. Sure, Paddington and Winnie the Pooh are adorable, but real bears are a much different case. As genuine forces of nature, it is honestly surprising they have not taken over the world yet. This rule is pretty much in place anywhere there are bears, and should really go without stating as a rule. Yet every once in awhile you will hear a story of some hiker coming across some sort of bear that they find just so irresistibly cute. All until it strikes at them with might of an apex predator.
6 Don’t Traipse About On Natural Wonders
Again, this should be common sense, yet it is a rule that is still broken. In Yellowstone National Park, four guys took footage of themselves walking onto Grand Prismatic Spring. This is not only ecologically obnoxious, but also incredibly inane considering this particular spring has killed people in the past due to its thermal heat. It is no secret that natural wonders are not a playground, and there is nothing normal about thinking you can do whatever you want on them. Honesty, not even Norway would put up with this kind of stuff.
5 Yielding for Uphill Hikers
This is an unspoken rule within the hiking community that may seem arbitrary to newer hikers. Basically it means that when you are going down a trail and an incoming person is going uphill, you are the one that needs to step aside for the sake of courtesy. This makes a good amount of sense, as it is a way to efficiently work with fellow hikers on trails, and going uphill is more tiring and arduous. But out of context it is a bit strange and is not something that you would necessarily know through common sense.
4 Don't Kill Bigfoot
Hiking is good for getting some exercise and looking at beautiful scenery, but we all know the real reason why we hike is in the hopes of meeting the number one elusive all-star, Bigfoot. Now if you do happen to ever find Bigfoot, and are by chance hiking in Skamania County, Washington, it is not the best idea to go trying to murder him. Doing so can get you a year in jail and hatred from Cryptid lovers everywhere.
3 Don't Give Booze to a Moose
While hiking in Alaska, you might a spot a moose. And then you might have an uncontrollable urge to crack a cold one with said moose, but unfortunately for you it is illegal to do so. Giving a moose any sort of alcohol is illegal within the state of Alaska and is considered an offense. Likely this is because you are endangering the animal by doing so. It seems like someone did not figure that out because the state had to make a specific law for it. Additionally, like bears, moose are very dangerous creatures and likely more so when wasted.
2 Do Not Kick Cairns
Cairns are palm sized rocks stacked atop each other. They are commonly found on hiking trails, but it is not unusual for hikers to have no idea what they do. Like the child who always knocked over your block tower as a kid, some hikers find satisfaction in knocking these stacked stones over. While it may seem like a harmless thing to do, these stone are more than just an aesthetic. They are actually used to mark trails and keep people on the right path. When people knock these over they are risking the chance of getting people lost, so try to be mindful of them in the future.
1 Leave No Trace
This is somewhat strange without a proper explanation, but is generally important to know when interacting with anything involving the wilderness. It is important to be respectful of the environment, and that means keeping it in its most natural state. This entails refraining from littering, not taking anything you did not bring with you, and making sure you bring back everything you did brought out with you.
This may not be much of shock to people, but a decent amount of the rules formerly put on this list are extreme versions of leave no trace. It may seem strange when a park ranger scolds you for picking up shiny rock or picking a flower, and without giving a reason it certainly can seem that way, but these rules are set up so that everyone else can also enjoy the beautiful nature that drives so many people to go out and hike.