Check Your Politics at the Trailhead


Okay, I get it…we are all a bit on edge 

Ninety-nine percent of the country seems to be politically polarized. If you’re reading this, it’s likely you either want to “make America great again”, or you are firmly in the “he’s not my president” group.

Given the inevitable heated discourse whenever the subject comes up, on the trail leave your politics at home. Arguing the subject does nothing to change it, it only further divides people who should be coming together to share in an uplifting experience.

There are so many amazing subjects which deserve attention and provide positive fodder for discourse. I promise we won’t run out of topics for conversation. For instance, topics like good food and great beer are almost always welcome.

If you absolutely need to express your political opinions, wait until you have cell service and feel free to discretely add another ugly Facebook post to the millions already floating around. After all, those posts are so uplifting right?


Be a leader, not a follower

When politics comes up in conversation, which will happen, choose not to participate. By avoiding those conversations you will not be adding fuel to that particular fire. Hopefully, it will dwindle and die before getting out of control. No matter how sure you’re on the “correct side” of the fence, very little of what you say will really be heard. When both sides are more interested in getting their point across than actually listening, no one wins.

By spending quality time together and celebrating our common interests, we can leave the trail better prepared to foster some healing when we return to society. We can have a better understanding of one another, but only if we try. Let’s focus on nurturing new friendships, instead of allowing something so petty to color our feelings for each other.

Look at it as one small step in the long journey we all face, if we are to find mutual acceptance. Let’s celebrate our differences. Together, we can set an example, growing together and not further apart.

Be a catalyst for changing the course in a better direction.

Hike Your Own Hike…




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Comments 6

  • Darrell Barrett : Jan 30th

    Great post! I try to focus on the many things we agree on! Just as no one can “argue” me to change my position on things on which I have deeply held convictions and positions, I can’t and don’t try to argue others to mine. Maybe I’ll see you on the Trail this spring or see you when I am doing trail magic near Hiawassee. “Encourager” +

  • Karyn : Jan 30th

    I read your post and I do fall into neither side – I’m Switzerland ??

    I guess I didn’t really even think about politics on the trail – I’ve thought everyone would either be enjoying being away from our culture and problems or too dang tired to talk.
    Nice post though. Thanks.

  • Digs : Jan 30th

    well said.

  • dwcoyote : Jan 31st

    Good post and I wish people writing articles here would follow your advice. I am tired of seeing all the anti-Trump post on here. This is a hiking site, let’s leave it at that.

    • Tosha : Feb 1st

      I definitely get your sentiment, but as an avid hiker and lover of nature, I think we fail our trails and National Parks by pretending they aren’t in danger right now. We are fortunate enough to enjoy them, but that may not always be the case. NOT talking about important issues doesn’t make them go away. I agree, don’t start a fight, choose your words wisely, be kind, but don’t feel like you need to stay silent.

  • Lloyd : Aug 11th

    Being conflict avoidant can certainly be a form of followership. So is listening to someone on The Trek who tells you to not talk about politics because it makes them uncomfortable. Leaders don’t check their ideology at the door and neither do conscious and involved people. You make friends (and overcome difference) by getting to know people – not by ignoring major parts of their persona. If I’m going to be hiking with someone for an extended period of time, I want to know that they aren’t a bigot. I want to make real connections and that doesn’t happen through chatting about your favorite IPA. Hike you own hike and be yourself. If being yourself involves talking about the politics that matter to you… then speak your mind.


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