As the summer heat dwindles to not-so murderous temperatures, more and more people are making their way out to hiking trails. Hiking is and has always been an excellent way to exercise and unwind at the same time. Buckley, Washington, in particular, has many great trailheads to explore like Foothills, Cal Magnusson, and Enumclaw, just being three to name. The serenity of earth’s biomes and freedom to walk at your own pace is an experience that some find even better with cannabis on hand. The appeal of using cannabis in the outdoors suggests a way to become one with nature’s ever-thriving environment.
That said, if you’re going to bring cannabis to public hiking trails and parks, it is important to equally mind your manners and safety. Going hiking should never be looked at like a walk in your backyard. If you under-prepare and get overly comfortable, you can either end up putting your well-being at risk or ruin other people’s experiences. These are some tips on hiking with cannabis when it comes to etiquette and health.
Safety Precautions When Using Cannabis While Hiking
Be wary of open flames and sparked flower/roaches
This is plain and simple for the West Coast especially. People often underestimate the dangers of an open flame, especially in the daytime since you cannot see it so easily. This goes even more so for joint and blunt roaches. Even if that little piece of paper and ash looks like it’s out cold, are you really about to risk a whole forest over it? If you can help it, don’t toss roaches, and don’t spark up in a dense grove or near plant life.
Bring tons of water
People underestimate two things: how much water they need, and how far they end up wanting to hike. Even if you’re bringing edibles, having cannabis with you will only double the importance of clean water. The average person should drink anywhere from 2.7 to 3.7 liters a day as is, so think about bringing at least half of that when you head out. Don’t let the dry mouth take over.
Avoid going alone, and don’t take nonsensical risks
Even if you prefer going out by yourself, it is good to have someone with you on the trails. However, even among friends, shenanigans, and risk-taking are still not exactly advisable in nature. The more uncivilized an area you’re hiking in is, the longer it would take rescue services to find you in an emergency. Besides, getting lost is not the best way to spend an experience with cannabis, so keep your wits about yourself and stay on the trail as well.
Going with friends should also not encourage a feeling of entitlement on public trails. This segways into the next big concern when bringing cannabis on a hike: being respectful of others.
Cannabis Etiquette on Hiking Trails
Be aware of other hikers
Don’t build stereotypes about cannabis users by being rude or indecent to non-users. It may be legal in some places, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants a taste. Think of it like when people bring cigarettes on a trail (usually a counter-productive idea, but nonetheless). Even though the two’s health attributes are wildly different, the third person consensus is the same: people don’t want to inhale your smoke second-hand.
Some hikers find it easier to use a bowl, cartridges, or a doob tube as a result. This is because you can quickly put out the flame or conceal the smell when you see others approaching. It’s not like the forest is a place for your three-footer mega-glassware anyway; which brings us to the next point.
Don’t be blatant
Maintain discretion, especially if you’re in a national park like Mount Rainier where it is still federally illegal. Washington and most other legal states don’t even have legal public consumption either, so this is a general rule. Even among other hikers, out in nature especially, it’s better to just keep to yourself rather than risk a negative encounter.
Be kind, but not overbearing
There is a line between pure anti-sociability and severe friendliness that you must balance on, especially when hiking with cannabis. It’s more than okay to greet other hikers, or even strike up small talk. It’s also okay to keep to yourself, and you need to think about these concepts in reverse as well.
For example, if you see other hikers using cannabis on the trail, that’s not a green light to pull up and ask for “a hit.” Many people use cannabis for chronic and acute conditions, and on top of that, it’s just a bit too greedy. On the flip side, don’t try to offer cannabis to just anybody. It’s a ruleset still relevant off the trails too, but it’s still important to consider people who use trails to de-stress.