trail runners?

Questions about trails and campsites on the island.

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torpified
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trail runners?

Post by torpified » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:28 pm

It's quiet around here. I don't want to start a fight, but I'm seriously curious about whether other peoples' reactions to trail runners on Isle Royale (I mean humans darting down the trail, not shoe choices) conform to the one expressed in this post:

https://michigantrailmaps.wordpress.com ... he-island/

To oversimplify somewhat, the reaction expressed is that runners disrupt the wilderness vibe backpackers travel to IR to enjoy.

Like I said, I'm curious about whether people share the reaction. I don't personally (unless something incidental to running, like violating basic LNT tenets is going on), but I've learned that I'm not always typical. And I do have a nearby reaction, which is that forms of life centered on acronyms like FKT* and DIAD**, are alien to the IR vibe.

I'm NOT asking whether you endorse the drift of the post --- I'm just wondering how common it is for trailrunners to be experienced as buzzkills.

*FKT: Fastest Known Time, as in "the Fastest Known Time on the GRT is 8hrs and 7 minutes." (Illustration made up.)
**DIAD: Done in a Day. As in "the Minong seems like a DIAD prospect."


paulbates
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Re: trail runners?

Post by paulbates » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:11 pm

I wouldn't trail run, but wouldn't mind within boundaries. If I catch your drift of where this is going, probably some informal etiquette should be involved. Mine? The onus is on the runner to slow to a walk to negotiate getting around me and especially hikers in groups. Some people may not be as mobile as others, the lowest speed denominator applies.

I would not be impressed or motivated by the "excuse me" that Jim DuFresne received and talked about in his blog. I would not be bothered by it either. It would not create a priority for me to get suddenly out of the way in a hurry, especially if I haven't figured a safe alternative place for myself or my group.

Don't get me wrong; I think I normally give way to other backpackers more than I get way, and I'm fine with that and leading with courtesy... especially on IRNP. But that's when I have time to see them coming, make eye contact, and take step somewhere I'm certain I want to step. I won't ever feel responsible for somebody's record/speed/segment/day/whatever.

In a related story, my daughter talked to one of the rangers at Windigo in August. A few weeks prior he'd be dropped off at McCargoe and completed the Minong in one day,---~ total of ~11 hours end to end. Since he went down to the camp at Little Todd, that's ~30 miles in ~11 hours including breaks and the ups and downs, bare rock outcroppings -- there must have been some running in the wood between ridge tops.

Paul


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Re: trail runners?

Post by Donk_67 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:34 pm

I'm a big believer in HYOH...while I don't understand the motivation behind the desire to rush past the scenery, I don't necessarily feel offended by those who do, just as I'm not put out by those who stay at the lodge and utilize water taxis for day hikes. Now, if I ever end up experiencing a rude interaction with a trail runner, I'd likely be put out by the individual and not the type of journey they were embarked on. -to be clear, I've always had positive interactions with everybody I've met on the island.


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Re: trail runners?

Post by torpified » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:48 am

I wonder how much of the sense of affront came from the apparent rudeness of the runner encountered? (#7: Be Considerate of Other Visitors.)

The post also prompts a question about etiquette. I'm a big yielder when I'm solo---there's just one of me, and I'm little and mobile, so it's easy for me to get out of the way. But if everyone were like this, we'd all wind up stuck in standoffs on the trail. So what's the prevailing convention? The post suggests that on IR, it's slower yields to faster. Elsewhere, it's that uphill hikers have the right of way, because they're toiling, and interruptions cost the toiling more. (They're free to cede the right of way if they want an excuse to rest!) I guess a prior question is whether there's a prevailing convention on IR at all. Wide trails + low density + midwestern decency might cover it.

https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/trail-eti ... ght-of-way


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Re: trail runners?

Post by paulbates » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:00 am

Yeh I think the nature of the encounter was a lot of it. Somebody going for a record time or whatever does not overrule #7. I don't care if someone runs, but choosing to do that doesn't create a priority over my own safety.

Some of this is about what part of IR you're hiking. We saw a lot of narrow trail- barely 1 person wide, sometimes with long stretches of considerable overgrowth. The overgrowth was enough that we sometimes had to use the topography to guess where the trail was going. I took the time to stick a trekking pole in before deciding to step off (or even forward). In other words, I can't safely yield if don't know whether or not I'd go toppling off the side with a heavy backpack on. Other areas were considerably flooded out and there was really only one way around hopping on rocks, logs, sticks and a few high places.

The prevailing convention for me is: safety first and courtesy second. To Donk_67's comment, the encounters we had were all friendly and uneventful. If someone were to get upset with me because I chose to look out for my own safety over them running by at speed, that would be on them. I would go on and enjoy my IR experience and not give it a second thought.

Paul

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Tom
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Re: trail runners?

Post by Tom » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:17 am

I'm with Donk_67; everyone should hike their own hike. While the Coast Guard has formal regulations on the water (motors yield to sails, paddles, etc) it's just common courtesy for our trails. Everyone should be able to enjoy them as they see fit. I can't say I would share Jim's reaction, it seems more over-reactive, but I wasn't there. Just like the hikers/paddlers vs motor boat 'feuds' that seem to rise every now and then, it's not about the mode of transit - It's usually just the person. Some people are nice, some people are jerks. Footwear doesn't identify that.

As far a prevailing convention, after a good numerous trips to the island, this would be my personal observation of how it normally works:
- Downhill yields to uphill.
- First person on the boardwalk gets use until through; no meeting in the middle.
- Overtaking in same direction: This one is hit or miss; most often (and as rare as it is) there is enough trail to accommodate. I'll say that the times when I've been passing somebody or a group, I recognize that sometimes they are struggling and slogging and the last thing I want to do is make it worse or more uncomfortable for them. I'll figure out a way around them. It's nice if you can make some noise (like with your voice, too) because sneaking up on people on a trail in a place as isolated and quiet as Isle Royale can freak them out.
- Hikers on the longer Western trails seem more likely to stop for a quick chat, share trail conditions, and catch a breath. On the Eastern side it tends to be more of an eye contact, 'hey' and onward. (That's a wild generalization, of course.)

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Grandpa
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Re: trail runners?

Post by Grandpa » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:03 pm

I encountered my first trail runner in 1997 on Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain national Park. It's not my thing, but I can't say they bother me.

Nevertheless, the question is legitimate. Our local nature center prohibits running so as not to disturb people who are doing nature study, birding or just enjoying the peace & quiet.

Isle Royale, of course, is much bigger, than a nature center so I don't think additional rules are necessary. Some visitors might.

I've found that visitors are almost always friendly and accommodating. I've always said that you meet the nicest people on Isle Royale!
First visit 1982. Last visit September, 2017. Isle Royale is my favorite National Park!

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Ingo
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Re: trail runners?

Post by Ingo » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:34 am

Coincidentally, this popped up on my FB feed:
Hiking - "I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them."
- John Muir

Personally, I appreciate the sentiment. But if someone else wants to run through the wilderness, live and let live.


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Re: trail runners?

Post by vgeh » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:09 pm

Great topic. FKT, Ultralight hikers, fast hikers, long distance hikers are popular topic of discussion in the hiking/BP community. Just like most would agree, I am with "Hike your own Hike" as long as what you do is within LNT principles.

I used to run and had an ankle injury during a marathon. For some reason I stopped running after this incident although I recovered (Call me lazy, lol). The reason I don't think I might not get into trail running at least for few years in the future is my lifestyle and my approach to outdoor adventurers. Running in general is very demanding physically. Higher chances of injury and high level of fatigue. In my current lifestyle, time for long outdoor adventure trips are luxury. I don't think having recovery days and perfect weather are possible for me. For example, my labor day backpacking trip at Isle Royale continued even though the weather was not pleasant. For most, that is not a day for running. After 100+ miles of hike, I drove 10+ hours straight back home and slept for 3 hours before going to work. My body was fully recovered in a day or two. Recovery time would have been much longer if I had ran 100+ miles.

Running in backcountry populated with predators like big cats and bears is another problem. As everyone knows these predators assume anything running as a prey. Higher chances of risk for runners than hikers. There are many other reasons that i can think of but these are top on my list of trail running in general.

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