Leave no trace

“Leave only footprints

Take only memories

Leave no trace”

The entire “Leave no trace” is a catch phrase or mnemonic, not a syllogistic rule.

It is a stand in for “Reduce human impact to preserve and maintain the trail for the greatest accessible number of people” not a creed.

So, rather than requiring that you hold your breath on the trail (exhaling would leave a trace, after all) common sense and the plain meaning of the actual rule allows hikers to breathe.

The existence of the trail? That fits with preserving and maintaining the trail, as do blazes.

Shelters and campsites—those minimize over all impact. Human impact on the environment is reduced and the trail preserved for use by more people.

Graffiti on a shelter or the trail, well there is a reason that you can get federal jail time and a five thousand dollar fine for that.

“But the words,” this isn’t a linguistic “I win button” as the catch phrase has a long and well established meaning, with a class you can take on-line (and in a normal year goes with getting your tag!).

You want to establish a different meaning for some place away from the trail, give it a shot. But on the AT it has a clear meaning, with classes, trainers, etc.

The AT is different from other areas.

So on the AT you would not use a Dakota Fire Pit. In the south you will start root fires, in the north peat moss fires and in Pennsylvania you will rue your life’s choices (the rocks) or encounter ground water. Off the AT it might be a fine low impact decision.

On the AT you don’t build random cairns. That is because on the AT you will encounter them as alternatives to blazes. Adding them next to the edge of a cliff, etc isn’t art, it is just evil. Otherwise the forest service has rules against them.

Want more answers? You won’t get them from me, other than to hear me say “it’s a catch phrase”.

Pictures added for examples of “traces” (including someone who decided to spray paint over a white blaze).


Online classes and materials on leave no trace.

We made it to New Jersey.

Now we have 356 miles left to go to finish the trail.

https://www.facebook.com/514025522/posts/10165184129990523/?d=n. That includes a video of one of three snakes we met that day and a picture of Win crossing into New Jersey.


https://www.facebook.com/514025522/posts/10165175836800523/?d=n —snack recipes.


So we made it from the Bert’s Steakhouse hostel to Delaware Water Gap and then drove home. Rainstorm hit as we drove.

For a flashback and some perspective, two years ago in Virginia this is where we were:


The map of the climb out of Palmerton.

That was a 20 mile day and a 17 mile day (which, with town hiking, etc took 24 and 17.9 miles or so of actual hiking). Originally we were going to stop at the gap but we hiked another mile over the bridge to the parking lot.

We hiked 37+ miles on the trail in two days in order to beat the storms. Normally we might have taken this stretch a little slower.

Back to Pennsylvania.

We are doing Duncannon to Delaware Water Gap this trip.

That gets us to 1296 to 1653 to finish the trail. After this section we will have only 360 miles or so to finish. 

Below freezing tonight, but warming is promised. 









Been a great section. Good to see John Monk again.


We hiked from Ironmasters to Duncannon. The plan was to get to Carlisle, just past Boiling Springs, but we made very good time.

Pennsylvania is beautiful this time of year.









We even got to see The Doyle and meet Trail Angel Mary.

A great trip. Only 500 miles left.