Trail culture

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Quixoticgeek, May 2, 2015.

  1. Quixoticgeek

    Quixoticgeek Ultralighter

    Having recently read I Promise Not to Suffer about a woman and her husband walking the PCT. Something that stood out, at least to me, was the trail culture, specifically the role of trail angels.

    This got me thinking. Europe has lots of long distance routes, spanning thousands of kilometres, made up of trails that are hundreds of kilometres to thousands of kilometres. Do any of them come with a strong culture like some of the American trails? Are there trail angels on the GR5?

  2. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Perhaps; kindness exists in all walks of life.

    Yet American trail behaviour seems somewhat unique as recognised cultural attitudes in my experience thus far...
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  3. suggdozer

    suggdozer Section Hiker

    In my experience I have met some of the most helpful , polite and considerate people while trail walking and day walking , on long distance trails the camerarderie and mutual respect obviously bonds people , maybe I'm wrong but I think experiences like the JMT the PCT And the AT have such an effect on a persons soul that they feel compelled to become Trail Angels , maybe the European mind just doesn't quite feel the fellowship or the proximity of "civilisation"
    to euro long distance hikes doesn't allow it , but I haven't heard of anything like it over here, then again there is a couple on the pennies way that wash your sox and clean and dry your boots for you at their B+B, it's a start .
  4. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Not 'Trail Angel' behaviour - but I wouldn't hesitate to talk to/help folks I meet out in the 'wilds' of Scotland that I would otherwise ignore on city streets. The general busyness (lots /too many folks) I've experienced in the Lake District, on the few visits I've had recently, diminishes my instinct to interact with strangers. Remoteness from cicvilization definitely has an influence in this.
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
    nic a char likes this.
  5. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    When I was 18, I did the Coast to Coast. While I was buying a pork pie in Richmond, a man approached me and said his wife had told him to ask if I'd like to come back to their house for bath and a clean up. Apparently she'd said, "Just think, that's some mother's son."
    Ironically, I'd just spent the night in a B and B so that I could bathe and have a little luxury.
    I think suggdozer is right about the European trails being closer to civilisation, so the trail angel support is less necessary. Also, does the trail angel phenomena extend beyond the big 3 in the U.S.
    Here, the shepherds are always willing to provide a little trail magic in the form of tea or ayran.
  6. nic a char

    nic a char Trail Blazer

    - It's like littering - the few spoil it for the many.
    SO true though - my kids always wear kilts abroad for that reason.
  7. EM - Ross

    EM - Ross Thru Hiker

    I'm English. Not having been abroad with a Scot I've not been able to compare the friendly factor but always found folk friendly enough, especially in USA, Sweden, Norway, France & Bulgaria. I've felt sorry for Germans in a Pyrenean refuge we'd just secured a great meal of omelete & chips. The Germans requested the same & got a miserable & loud NON.

    I've found in Scotland (Clachaig springs to mind) being from NE England is looked on marginally better than being from further south. (I'm from the Midlands but 30+ years in the NE has left it's mark).

    The only country I've taken real abuse for being English is Scotland.
  8. nic a char

    nic a char Trail Blazer

    The only country where I've taken real abuse for being "Scottish" is England.
    I'm not, the accent was enough to bring out the "och aye, up-yer-kilt", refuse banknotes etc - but as I said, it's the few spoiling things for the many.
    It's values and principles that count, not where we're "from".
  9. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    On the SUW back in 2012 @ Longformacus got invited in for a cuppa out of the rain by a nice couple, stayed for 1½ hrs numerous teas & cake; there are some nice people in the world. :)
  10. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    The guys I'm doing the Wind River High Route with this summer I met for just one day on the Colorado Trail in 2013..sufficient time has passed for them to forget what I'm like...
    theoctagon likes this.
  11. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Stop trying to force people to buy your Big Issue magazine then :D
    Cliff Lee-Buechel likes this.
  12. Cliff Lee-Buechel

    Cliff Lee-Buechel Summit Camper

    Dont worry Nick i have had the same been English in Scotland
    nic a char likes this.
  13. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    they won't turn up :D
    stick with yer real mates.:angelic:
  14. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Mick, it's Ed that doesn't turn up :thumbsdown:.
  15. suggdozer

    suggdozer Section Hiker

    On the CWT came down with cellulitis from dirty shower floors at inchnadamph lodge
    After a hard days slog to kylesku woke the next day with shivers and generally feeling like death,
    Had to pick up food parcel from the post office in kylesku. and when Esther brauer the post lady took one look at me she drove me 15 miles to the nearest doctors surgery where I was given 14 days of antibiotics free of charge , she is married to an ex German POW who made me tea while she phoned me an appointment , on reflection and not thinking of this earlier in the thread these people were true trail angels without even trying to be and I'll be forever great full to them .
    Tartanferret and paul like this.
  16. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I thought an appointment with my oncologist more important....
  17. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    You told me it was a routine scan and the oncologist was 3 months later. - 'shrugs shoulders' :o o:
  18. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I have problems with cellulitis aggravated by Lymphodema in my left leg (lymph nodes in groin all removed) = reduced local immune response.

    Unless you had a open wound/cut you cannot catch cellulitis from a shower - the infection/bug is 'in' the tissue not on the skin surface. It can lie dormant in the tissue and 'break out' when you are under stress, or over do things, and your immune system isn't working so well. The over exertion of long days walking (upright = insufficient lymph drainage of leg ??) might have been a factor. Your 'trail angels' were spot on - you do not 'mess around' with cellulitis and should get treatment within 24 hrs. I carry antibiotics when away specifically for this reason.
  19. suggdozer

    suggdozer Section Hiker

    Quite Cathy , the infection was from or most probably from a large heel blister I was carrying at the time that the dressing had dropped off, the doctor assured me this was to blame as shower floors however clean they may appear and because they are communal carry a plethora of germs , it's not the first time I've suffered the complaint and I've also had septicemia a few years ago which has left my immune system depleted and was even on antibiotics for a blood infection only four weeks ago that's just how it is ,I also carry antibiotics everywhere if possible.
  20. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I work hard to prevent a cellulitis 'outbreak' and so far haven't had another for nearly 2 years :D:D:D.
    suggdozer likes this.
  21. 7wave

    7wave Trail Blazer

    Things in the Camino used to work the other way around. Many ill people walked that way hoping for a cure. That way the albergues started. Nowadays you can find places in the same spirit.
  22. Shewie

    Shewie Chief Slackpacker Staff Member

    A sweet lady in a caravan took pity on me and Pete when we rolled into Kinlochewe campsite on the CWT last year, soaked to the bone and looking pretty miserable after half a day of bog negotiating. She made us a cup of tea and a sandwich while we put our shelters up.

    Not sure that counts but it was appreciated nonetheless :)
    Teepee likes this.
  23. 7wave

    7wave Trail Blazer

    Thing is, people in the trail help each other. That's what i've found :)) and listen to the locals.
  24. Gazelle

    Gazelle Ultralighter

    I've never had a problem being English in Scotland.
    In fact, I've found the Scots to be incredibly hospitable...despite my accent.
  25. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    but you've got a nice accent :p

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