Leave Only Footprints

Part of the childhood wonder that lingers with me is the thought is trekking through the jungles and embracing  “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before”.. The Star Trek Intro quote that was part of every day play.  Having had older siblings, there was never an episode that was missed.  But that phrase has stuck in my adventuring mind ever since.

Living in south central British Columbia when I was a young teen, just a couple of rows from the top of the mountain side zigzagging terraced streets, my cousins and I set out on an adventure.  We cut through a few neighbours yards, we wandered up the last street to where you simply could not drive any further.  There we began our adventure.

Up through some scrub trees , across some grassy stoney meadows, all through the low growth and scrambling through the scree of loose rocks. We just kept going, higher and higher.  We just ambled and scurried chattering as 3 preteens will do.   We didn’t know about switchbacks, we just went as close to straight up as we could.  We were climbing a mountain,  We couldn’t wait to get to the peak.  We’d be on top of the world.  We had no gear, no snacks, no drinks, nothing,, just adventure.


There it is that’s the peak.  oh,, hang on a minute, there’s another high spot right there,  Ok so that’s the peak,  nope,, wrong again.  We continued higher and higher, becoming breathless, and still pushing through.  We chattered about “no one has ever been here before. How “neat” is this.”  “we’ll be the first humans to ever be here”  Until the wind was quickly puffed out of our sails, and our lungs.

We sat on the smooth rounded top of this mountain, that looked more like a hill at this point,  and we found a dried out old orange peel.  We weren’t the first people to be here.  How sad.  Our sense of adventure dashed by someones litter.  That may be why Leave No Trace means the world to me.  I want to get to that place, and find it in pristine condition.  I don’t want to find your litter.  I don’t want to step in human poop anymore than I want to step in dog poop in a public park.  I don’t want your excessive camping debris around a campsite or trail any more than I would want your recycling to blow across the street into my front garden.  Just No..

Leave No Trace principles are available to be seen anywhere you look online or in any camping , hiking, or backpacking site or magazine.  Look it up.


It’s simple basic consideration for others.  Human or wildlife, or plant life, we all benefit.

Carry out everything you carry in, carry an extra trash bag or zipper bag for this. Carry out other peoples trash too if possible.

Plan your meals to keep litter to a minimum.

Don’t feed the animals, or encourage them to become accustomed to humans as a food source.

Keep food secured and hang a bear bag properly, out of reach of all the critters, bears, raccoons, and chipmunks alike.

Don’t remove or transport plants, don’t remove or transport artifacts. Don’t remove or transport rocks or minerals.

Don’t take down live trees, or excessive foraging from wild edibles.  Don’t harm wildlife, unless it is food for survival.


Leave Only Footprints

Take Only Pictures

Kill Only Time




Paul · March 10, 2016 at 3:22 pm

So much truth in this statement , and yet such a difficult concept for these ” litter bugs ” to understand … On many occasions when I find garbage , where I think ” no one ” has ever been there before … I am sometimes surprised … but not as much as when I found the 2 halves of the same meat can , about half a mile apart on the same mountain ridge …

    Mama Bear · March 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, and a sad shame really. It will be up to us, each one of us, to spread the word and respect to others who are on the trails or in the backcountry.

Dean Hill · March 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

I grew up in the hills and mountains of Montana and can really appreciate what you are talking about here. Nature is a beautiful place that God created for us to enjoy, we should do all that we can to preserve it!

    Mama Bear · March 15, 2016 at 11:48 am

    We have to teach every young person we come in contact with. Every opportunity to share this ethic counts. We may not see the result immediately,, but it will sink in and show up at some other time.

    Mama Bear · March 15, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Yes, and I feel teaching every young person we can to respect these blessings will go a long way. I can only hope I have done my part to influence all the youth in my life. And perhaps, this venue may influence more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.