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  He hated being passed
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-04-13 2:14 PM (EST)
   Category: unassigned 

This is about a hiker, not a paddler, but the same thing could happen on a paddle outing.

My husband and I were descending a popular ridge trail, when I slowed down because I had caught up to a woman and, just behind her, a very loud-talking man. The trail is 1-person wide. I kept walking slowly, hoping he'd shut up long enough I could let him know I would like to pass. (I did not drop "hints" such as clearing throat, coughing, etc.)

Finally they pulled off to the side and I passed as he turned to watch. Immediately he yelled (I do mean YELL), "It's okay, I don't get insulted because you passed me!" I didn't know what to say back so I just ignored him and kept walking. Then my husband passed, and Loudmouth fired off more sort-of-joking-but-mostly-hostile shouts. For example: "She must be running away from something! I tried to get my kid to run away but he wouldn't go." (At this point I almost turned back and got in his face to tell him I was a kid many decades ago. But I kept going, wanting to get far awaaaaayy from that abrasive, hostile tone.)

After my husband passed, Loudmouth yelled at him, "Show-off! You're showing off!" By this time he was no longer pretending to joke. My husband calmly replied, "Nobody's showing off; this is our normal hiking pace." He, too, kept going. Although we had to endure hearing this kind of verbal attack due to switchbacks above us, soon we were out of audible range.

I have to wonder how many other hikers passed that jerk before we did, for him to go apesh*t over something like that. One clue as to his mindset is that when I came up behind him, he was bragging to his woman friend that he wasn't into using lots of equipment (as he tapped his way down with a hiker's staff) but still did just fine without it. And then along came me and husband, descending quickly without any sticks.

Would you have said anything to him? I'm glad I did not respond.

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Messages in this Topic


  Just a guess
  Posted by: steve_in_idaho on Sep-04-13 2:40 PM (EST)
But I bet he was more put off by the fact that you didn't strike up any conversation with him in the first place. You know like "hi...mind if we pass by"? Simply following in silence and then walking by without comment can be taken as a personal insult by some. As if you are too good to talk to them.

That may not be the case, but I find it's more pleasant to be a little sociable to people I pass on the trail - even if they seem a little out of place.
  I did say Hi as I passed
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-04-13 2:42 PM (EST)
But he was already shouting at me.
  a case of overreaction
  Posted by: suiram on Sep-04-13 2:43 PM (EST)
Perhaps you read too much into it?
  I would likely say
  Posted by: puffingin on Sep-04-13 3:17 PM (EST)
"Have a good time on your hike." Then just carried on as you did. Who the heck cares what other folks are doing when it's not impacting an activity you're doing for your pace and for your own enjoyment? Not a contest or competition.
  Mind if we squeeze by?
  Posted by: nickjc on Sep-04-13 3:19 PM (EST)
Best not engage someone that aggressive. I've run in the mountains for years so have passed many people. I always ask to pass and say thank you, have a nice day etc. That said, walking behind someone and just clearing your throat without saying anything is not a good method. seems a little too much 'you're in my way'.
  he was just having a bad day
  Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-04-13 3:35 PM (EST)
would be my guess or what I like to think. Been on crowded trails and never had something like this. I normally approach and just say "hello" as a combo greeting and warning that I'm approaching. But yeah, if he's talking a lot that won't get through. I probably would have done as you did and just keep on walking. He may have just been having a bad day or encountered some rude hiker earlier and had his shields up. If he's always like this then at least you likely won't see him again.
  Might have been manic. Best not respond
  Posted by: ezwater on Sep-04-13 4:03 PM (EST)
given that you have no relationship with him that would require it.

September is getting to be manic time of the year. Early spring is for depression.
  Hubby and I were guessing
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-04-13 11:12 PM (EST)
...what his job position or career had been.

Hubby said engineer; I said No Way--more likely in management but with "anger management" problems.

We've had other people pass us, too, and our reaction is typically Oh, Well.
  Oh Lord
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-04-13 4:38 PM (EST)
I'm pretty sure I would have thought he was joking. I would have joked back "Hey, the wheelchair trail is over that way."

Then the nutcase would have gone ballistic.

Then I'd realize he was a nutcase and yell out, "I was joking! I was joking!"

Then the nutcase would pull out his pistol and start shooting. Damn.

I think you did the right thing.
  Posted by: carldelo on Sep-04-13 4:52 PM (EST)
That made me laugh out loud at my desk --- I would probably do much the same, but I'm from NYC and accustomed to dealing with mild- to very- crazy people. Which is to say I'm ready to bolt for cover at the first hint of truly crazy-violent behavior.

Driving a Mini Cooper, I find the same thing often happens if I pass a really big SUV (like an Excursion or crew-cab pickup) on the freeway. One minute later they whip past me at 85 mph, often on the right. Come to think of it, it only happens if there's a guy driving...
  Don't try that on your bike rides!
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-04-13 11:19 PM (EST)
While I've never had anybody else react even close to that negatively while hiking, some cyclists obviously hate being passed. I had one guy threaten to beat me up because I passed him and his girlfriend--prefaced with a friendly (not yelled) "On your left". Maybe some guys just need to play Caveman when they're trying to impress their female companions. Except they got it wrong...a much larger man threatening a woman over something like that does not impress *anybody.*
  easy response:
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-06-13 3:43 PM (EST)
Apologize for embarrassing him in front of his daughter.
  Cave Man in a Power Boat
  Posted by: Kudzu on Sep-07-13 6:44 AM (EST)
Last year I had a power boat come straight at my kayak; get very close; turn sideways, and cut the engine. The cave man operating it immediately looked at his wake to see how big it was then he looked at me to see if it would knock me over. Also on the deck of his boat was a woman and a little girl! He was trying to impress them with his manly boating skills! (Girls want boyfriends with skills).

I just said "How ya doin'?" and the cave man sped off.
  that was classic
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-04-13 4:49 PM (EST)
Especially this line:

"I kept walking slowly, hoping he'd shut up long enough I could let him know I would like to pass."

You write like I think.

I think the guy was probably just a social dufus and had no grace whatsoever.

I recall a time when we were hiking in Smoky Mtn Nat'l on a holiday and kept saying "excuse me" to people who never acknowledged or responded. By the end of the day it was sunglasses on, heads down and a brisk pace.
  Saying nothing is best
  Posted by: Celia on Sep-04-13 4:50 PM (EST)
Narrow trail in the middle of nowhere and a person at least a little out of his senses. March on and hope all he does is yell from a distance.
  Love you too
  Posted by: tor on Sep-04-13 5:24 PM (EST)
Once you had passed him, you could have sung "Love You Too". Lol. What a freak.
  More and More....
  Posted by: wildernesswebb on Sep-04-13 5:34 PM (EST)
.....people like that in our society. I grew up being taught to be "Social," so I typically speak or at least smile and "Nod" to most people I pass close by. Twenty five years ago, everyone else around here did the same. 10 years ago it was fewer. Nowdays, many give me a glare like I just told them to go to Hell. A sign of the times IMHO.
  haven't experienced that change
  Posted by: jcbikeski on Sep-04-13 5:46 PM (EST)
so it's not a universal one yet thankfully. I've always had a mix of responses and none really negative.
  Not the norm
  Posted by: KatieD on Sep-04-13 5:58 PM (EST)
That sounds, thankfully, like someone who does very little hiking and so doesn't realize that passing and being passed is a completely normal part of the activity.

In Canada, at least, I don't think that kind of behavior is increasing or normal; hikers I've come across are usually in one of 2 categories: experienced, and friendly or at the very least polite and well acquainted with trail etiquette. Or inexperienced, friendly, and either full of bravado that quickly dissipates once the going gets rough, or humble and maybe a little self-deprecating.

Maybe he was emotionally unstable and dangerous..I think you did pretty much all you can do. Be polite, be friendly, and keep moving. I wouldn't engage someone who is that aggressive. And don't let one bad egg spoil it for you! Another good example why hiking(or paddling) with a buddy is important.
  I use
  Posted by: daggermat on Sep-04-13 6:15 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-04-13 6:18 PM EST --

"on your left....beautiful day, huh....thanks for letting me by (if needed)"

Never met a jerk on the trail yet.

If the speed differential is huge I substitute "nice" for "beautiful" and skip the "for letting me by."

  part of that is regional
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-05-13 8:46 AM (EST)
  "The bride " and I have reached the age
  Posted by: jackl on Sep-04-13 6:58 PM (EST)
where we are much slower hikers then we used to be, so we always pull over when we hear some one coming up behind us.
My favorite expression to them is "Oh to be young again!"
The reply we usually get is "hopefully I'll be going as fast as you guys when I am at your age" and then that usually starts a nice friendly conversation.

jack L
  yeah, I know about getting passed,
  Posted by: tdaniel on Sep-04-13 10:01 PM (EST)
and rarely do I pass anyone; the knees ache, the hip gets stiff and I'm only 52. I'm almost always the slowest one out there. I do smile a bit when I think about having hiked the whole AT or some of my other adventures while I'm standing off to the side of the trail letting folks go by. Even paddling I get left behind. I just ask folks to slow down so I can be included in the group.

There are times when its useful to dial it up a notch: impending bad weather, darkness, and getting past idiots.

I like hiking and paddling because you make your own goals. Don't let others define your experience on the water or the trail but be respectful of the group if you're part of one.

Breeze by the idiots, slow down the rest of the time.
  Judgments based on speed
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-04-13 11:29 PM (EST)
Sometimes it's nice to go slowly and look for critters or listen to natural sounds. Sometimes it's nice to "play" the trail, letting momentum and loose/relaxed body dance freely and quickly together even while wearing clunky boots. Sometimes I just feel tired and want to make sure my feet step where they should. Other times I want to make my heart pound and thighs burn.

It's all good. And what's fast for one person might be Meh for someone else.
  My wife and I are old
  Posted by: Dr_Disco on Sep-04-13 10:55 PM (EST)
And we don't give a sh*t if someone passes us on a hike. In fact we are glad to not have someone breathing down our necks. BTW, there is nothing negative about using hiking poles. They help those of us with bad knees to still do what we love to do. Feel free to pass us by.
  "I'm, I' sorry! I've...
  Posted by: canoeswithduckheads on Sep-05-13 8:41 AM (EST) to get back to the vehicle! My husband left his lithium there! OH GOD! HE'S GAINING ON ME! GOTTA GO!"

Sometimes one's simple hike is but the prelude within a Hitchcock film.
  I shoulda counted on you
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-05-13 11:41 PM (EST) come up with the best reply possible! LOL.

You're welcome to hike with us anytime regardless of pace, could be a crazy verbal feast hatched from it!
  Thank you kindly for the invite.
  Posted by: canoeswithduckheads on Sep-06-13 7:56 AM (EST)
I'd love to traipse trails with you in any of those wonderfully inclined western state forests. Usually I'm a fairly quiet hiker (try'n to sneak up on those birdy denizens, such as the occasional Staffclappet Snippet), so I guess we'll feast verbal at our rest stops.

Unless we're in bear country, that is, where I understand it's better to announce your presence coming down the thicket-lined trail. Perhaps then we'd best take up show tunes (maybe from Annie Get Your Gun), like a duo of Ethel Merman and Katherine Hepburn...if only to help disseminate the bear population into the adjoining 30 or 40 states and provinces. Might even set the Staffclappets migrating to Mozambique.
  Staffclappet snippets?
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-06-13 1:02 PM (EST)
Ummm, yeah.

True about making noise in bear or mountain lion country. Or so the advice goes.

The aggressive critter in the park mentioned is actually--hold onto your Tilleysnippet--mountain goats. A couple years ago a hiker got gored to death. We found plenty of hoofprints and scat on the trail, but the only goats we saw were far away.

So don't let that deter you!
  "... tapped his way down ..."
  Posted by: placidpaddler on Sep-05-13 8:48 AM (EST)
As a person who has used a hiking since my days of hiking in the Swiss Alps, I have never thought of myself as "tapping my way down."

This sounds more like a personal issue with the OP. Chill out!
  it was a descriptive phrase
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-05-13 9:39 AM (EST)
Don't internalize and project. The point was the guy claimed to be a sort of minimalist. If I'd have had to deal with a jackass like that in a public place it would have been hard to keep my muttering to myself.
  My perception
  Posted by: magooch on Sep-05-13 11:43 AM (EST)
People who display rude behavior toward strangers in any setting are either very gregarious, or nuts. Pikabike, I think you and your husband used your best judgment and did the right thing in not engaging the subject.

Lately, I have encountered some very discourteous drivers and I've vowed to not let them get to me. It's excruciatingly hard to let drivers crowd in and cut you off, but it's much preferable to initiating any kind of "road-rage." No day is worth ruining with a bout of road-rage, or trail-rage.
  Missed opportunity................
  Posted by: on Sep-05-13 12:39 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Sep-05-13 1:22 PM EST --

I think the guy missed a couple of good opportunities to keep his mouth shut, and mind his own business.

On a hiking trail, it is virtually impossible to not know when someone is close behind you. I personally don't like other hikers being close behind me. When it is safe for me to do so; I step off the trail, and let them pass. Then they, and I, can travel at the pace that suits them, and me. This requires no cute, smart ass, aggravating, or antagonistic comments. In fact, it requires no comment at all from either party.

Reminds me of the guy in the passing lane on the interstate. The speed limit is 70; he seemingly has his cruise control set on 65. Traffic backs up behind him; people honk their horns, they flash their lights, people repeatedly pass him on the right. Still he refuses to yield the passing lane.

What's the message he's sending?
I don't think it's a positive message.
I think the message is F U!


  Absolutely true about road rage
  Posted by: pikabike on Sep-05-13 11:55 PM (EST)
Do not engage in their warfare. It's not worth the potential violence. Yeah, it's not fair when you know that some people habitually bully others out of "their way".

It'd be hard not to instinctively, defensively respond angrily to some of the horrible things I've heard about when it comes to road rage. I try to keep in mind that most people, including myself, have done some dumb things out of simply being tired/inattentive. Things that someone else could take as deliberate antagonism. There does not exist a driver who has never made such a mistake. Sometimes you have a chance to make it right, such as the time I didn't see someone when I pulled next to a gas pump just as he was (slightly) ahead of me, timewise. He honked his horn angrily, I backed up and got out, then told him I was sorry, just did not see him. The truth. He instantly became apologetic also. It's easy to defuse something like that, but some situations where high speed is involved would be less conducive to defusing the situation.
  silence is golden!
  Posted by: TomD on Sep-05-13 1:52 PM (EST)
I think trying to talk to someone like that is like mud-wrestling a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.
  Posted by: PJC on Sep-06-13 4:50 PM (EST)
If a person makes you feel like that merely by passing them on a trail, aren't you glad you don't have to LIVE in his head? (As he does.)

Let 'em be. Maybe it'll pass. Maybe it won't. Nothing you can do will change it, though.
  Posted by: Fred_Randall on Sep-07-13 10:08 AM (EST)
I never give stuff like this even a second of my time or thoughts.
  you just did.
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Sep-07-13 4:35 PM (EST)
  I would have answered him pleasantly.
  Posted by: WaterBird on Sep-07-13 8:06 PM (EST)
This person seems to be immature and someone who has a strong need to be acknowledged. The first clue to that is his loud trail voice. When people like this aren't acknowledged it sets off a strong reaction of feeling rejected and then possibly rage, as in this case.

The reality is that there are a LOT of people like this in society, and some of them push it to a dangerous level. You don't want to set off that kind of reaction in a remote place.

Your thinking was rational: "This guy is nuts. I'm not going to even answer him. It's best to ignore a crazy person." But ***your rational thinking led to an irrational response from him.*** In my opinion, that means that your own response was NOT the right course. If you and he had been alone on the trail, your response would have put you in danger.

In a situation like this your goal should only be to stay safe (e.g., a woman hiking alone in a remote place). For that reason, I would always reply to a person like this. His attempt at humor was thinly veiled aggression, but I would have replied humorously or pleasantly in some way to give him the acknowledgment that he needed. Something like, "Hey, howya doin? Great day for a hike, eh?" That would have sent him the message, "You're worthy of my attention." That may have been all he was seeking. You sent him the opposite message: "You're NOT worthy of my attention."

Your husband's reply was perfectly rational but again, denied the guy the acknowledgment he needed and his anger intensified.

People like this are very sensitive to how others respond to them. They will take a tiny response from you---a word, a glance, your tone of voice---and have an exaggerated emotional response to it.

I recommend doing whatever it takes to pacify crazy people wherever safety is your first concern. I think if you had replied pleasantly the incident would never have escalated. Once you realized he was angry you could have said, "Oh, sorry, I guess I was lost in my thoughts. I didn't mean to be rude" to diffuse him.

I would have had a concern about his girlfriend. That can't be a nice or safe guy to be in a relationship with.

There are other situations in life when you have to call people on their behavior to let them know it's not acceptable, but in the woods might not be the place. Don't forget that there are plenty of armed hikers. I

About road rage, before I set off on any trip I remind myself to always "cede my territory" to anyone who wants it on the highway. Being "dead right" isn't helpful. Right or wrong, we need to think about our safety before the rightness of our position.


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