He hated being passed

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.

Just a guess
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
But he was already shouting at me.

a case of overreaction
Perhaps you read too much into it?

I would likely say
"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?
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
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
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.

Oh Lord
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.

that was classic
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
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.

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…

Love you too
Once you had passed him, you could have sung “Love You Too”. Lol. What a freak.

More and More…
…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
so it’s not a universal one yet thankfully. I’ve always had a mix of responses and none really negative.

Not the norm
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

– 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."

"The bride " and I have reached the age
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,
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.

My wife and I are old
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.