Walking with others requires certain courtesies that are nothing more than common-sense thought-fulness.

• Avoid following too close. Instead of shadowing your companion, give the hiker ahead of you some space by staying perhaps seven or eight paces back.

• Avoid following too far back, so you don't lose contact with the other hikers or make them continually wait for you.

• Take a look back before you release the branches you've pushed aside along the route. If the hiker behind you has violated the first rule, that person is in danger of getting swatted.

• Step aside when you stop to tie a shoe lace, adjust your pack, or admire the view. (Step above those passing by, if possible.)

• Ask permission to pass, instead of elbowing your way forward.

• Step aside on the way downhill to let a party of uphill hikers continue forward without breaking their pace.

• Set a pace that everyone in the party can maintain. If someone can't keep up, slow the party's pace. Give the last person time to catch up with the party at rest stops—and time to rest after getting there.

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