This post was written by Lorne Currier, GMC’s Group Outreach Specialist.
Waterfalls, scenic vistas, alpine flowers and terrifyingly steep trails just barely scratch the surface when talking about the pleasures of hiking. But what about the pleasures of candy wrappers, apple cores, and plastic bottles? Upon seeing this unsightly rubbish I dash to it, excitement coursing through my veins as I open the Velcro hip-pocket on my hiking shorts.
I had no idea when I first found these shorts in a free box at a backcountry hut that they’d go on to become a traveling trash can, a repository for every bit of microtrash I can wrangle off our beloved trails. This quick-access trash pocket has become my one hiking go-to, the item I never leave home without. It’s there when you need it and not when you don’t. It’s ultra-light at the beginning of the hike, full of only air and empty of candy bar wrappers or plastic bottle caps. Hopefully, it’s ultra-light at the end as well, but I know if it needs to my pocket will always perform flawlessly.
The best part? Everyone who spends time on our trails can have a pocket just like mine. Whether it’s your backpack hip belt, the tongue of your hiking boot or the brim of your hat, I challenge you to fill that pocket with every piece of trail trash you find. Eventually, you won’t even have to break your stride.
How do you Leave No Trace on the trail?
Yes, I carry a little plastic bag in an easy to reach pocket of my pack and collect these bits and pieces too. I have noticed some other hikers picking up lost bits too. I met one man with a whole grocery bag of beer cans he had picked up one day. Trail users have to think about the environment. Thanks for bringing this up.