stay on the trail...

it is simple...
it is not too much to ask...
stay on the trail!

now... I get if you are going to explore a cave, climb a tree, examine a mushroom more closely
but if you are out running or walking the dog... just stay on the trail

go over obstacles... not around them
step over the log... do not blaze a trail around the log

this morning I was out walking the dog
I was marveling at my efforts over the last few days to clear the hiking trails in Rock Creek Park around my house
it took a few loops through before I cleared the trail

initially I dragged the larger fallen limbs off the trail
then also tossing the smaller branches and debris to the side
using these leaves and branches to help to outline the trail and obstruct unnecessary short cuts
yes... after the third pass with the "loppers" I was feeling pretty good about my efforts and the results

just trying to do my part
trying to balance my impact
trying to help keep these trails as sustainable as I can
doing what I do not think that the NPS keeps as a priority

these trails are unofficial trails
"social trails"
trails closer to the neighborhood 
trails that are not maintained by the NPS

this morning as I was walking the dog I saw a jogger
I stepped aside when he passed
there was a muffled exchange between us

then I watched as this runner meandered off trail around a fallen tree
a tree that I spent some time lopping the smaller branches so that people could step over the log that had fallen across the trail
really... it is not too much to ask for people to stay on the trail

what this person does not realize is that he is going to take what he believes to be a logical path
while someone else may take an alternate trajectory
the people walking down the trail will take a route different than the people walking up the trail
with the end results of people creating numerous alternate trails
as well as them stomping on fragile vegetation and compressing the earth so that nothing will grow in that spot unless someone tills the soil

so... I barked at the runner as he meandered through the woods
he barked something back
I am not sure what he said... but more than likely it was something that only made sense to him
it is like seeing someone driving the wrong way on a one way street... their behavior irks me... and I try to help them out by pointing out the error of their way... and they just bark at me

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