Hiker's Guide

As a hiker with the Philadelphia Trail Club, you assume certain responsibilities:  getting to the hike site, providing your own lunch and drinking water, wearing proper clothing based on the weather, including proper footgear.  To assure your personal safety, be alert, listen to the hike leader, and do not take undue risk.  Some specific guidelines:


  1. If you have any question or doubts about a hike, call the leader, whose name and phone number are listed in the Bulletin, and discuss the hike.  Do not overestimate your abilities or underestimate the difficulty of the hike.  If you are new to hiking, work up to long distance hikes.  Check the Bulletin instructions for a specific hike.  Again, check with the leader.


  1. When you have chosen a hike, check the directions to get to the meeting place.  Clarify with your own maps (AAA maps, county and city maps, etc.) to be sure of your travel.  If you are still uncertain, phone the leader.  This way the leader knows you are coming and may wait a few extra minutes.


  1. If you need a ride, check with the leader and he/she may be able to make suggestions regarding someone living in your area.  For hikes that are held some distance away, often there is an intermediate meeting point and carpooling is arranged at that point.  When you are a passenger in someone’s car, share the cost.


  1. Get to the hike site no later than the scheduled time.  Hikes will start at the scheduled time plus 15 minutes.


  1. Read and sign the waiver notice on the sign-in form.  After the hike, the form is forwarded to the Statistical Chair for mileage records and then sent to the archivist.


  1. Before the hike starts, the leader calls for a “circle” of the participants and makes any announcements and directions for the day.  At this time the leader will announce the “sweep” who stays at the end of the group to “sweep” up the slow hikers and be sure no one gets left behind.


  1. Try to maintain the pace.  If you are having trouble, let the leader or the sweep know.  Keep in contact with the hiker ahead of you and to the rear.  You should not lose contact with the other hikers since the sweep should always be last.  If necessary, do not hesitate to have the sweep call for a halt.


  1. Do not leave the group without notifying the leader.  If you plan to do only part of the hike, notify the leader before the hike starts and again when you leave.  If you want to leave the group temporarily, notify the leader and do not go alone.  On longer hikes, we will have comfort stops, which are called “separations”.


  1. Do not get ahead of the leader unless advised to do so by the leader.


  1. Stay on the trail; do not litter – pack out everything you bring in; do not damage or pick samples of flowers or foliage; respect private property; follow leader’s instructions.  No pets are permitted on hikes.