Here are a number of important things hikers need to keep in mind:
Assembly for hike: The schedules specify the assembly areas. Detailed information about their locations is contained in Assembly Areas. Please arrive at assembly area 15 minutes early.
Changes: Hikes may be changed without advance notice in the discretion of the leaders for any reason, including when weather, road conditions or gasoline shortages dictate. Those hikers who wish to meet en route or at the trailhead for the scheduled hike do so at the risk of missing the hike.
NO SMOKING PLEASE either at the assembly areas or during the hike.
No pets or unaccompanied children under 18 are permitted on the hikes.
Driver donation: A driver donation is expected for each hike. These are calculated for the upcoming schedule based upon the expected price of gasoline and car maintenance/depreciation. A donation to your driver is made before the hike.
Essentials to bring on hike: Hiking boots are a necessity. Smooth soled or other light footwear is not permitted. Each hiker is responsible for bringing adequate clothing for the weather and weather changes. Carry adequate drinking water and pack a lunch. All hikers are are responsible for bringing whatever medications that they might require, including for any allergy to insect stings. A whistle is highly recommended: see Universal Distress Signal below.
Distance, Elevation Gain and Difficulty: Estimates are usually given for the hikes. These are definitely estimates, in some cases quite accurate after repeated experience but in other cases only best estimates. The actual distance and elevation gain of a hike may vary significantly from the estimates. Difficulty is often stated using the Pisgah Hikers “R” scale, which has been in use for a long time.
Keeping Together: At the head of the column we have the Hike Leader and at the rear of the column we have the Sweep. All of the rest of us belong somewhere in between at all times during the hike unless released by either the Leader or by the Sweep to go briefly forward or to briefly drop back. For small groups of hikers where the rear of the column is always visible by the Hike Leader, an appointed Sweep will not be necessary but no one should get out of sight behind the column of hikers without clearing it with the leader. Each hiker is expected to maintain the pace set by the Hike Leader. If you continually find yourself well behind the hiker in front of you, you should change to a group that hikes shorter distances or at a slower pace.
Don’t trod on the leader’s heels: If you find the pace intolerably slow, drop back a little (you may hear some interesting stories towards the rear of the column), and consider joining the next faster group.
No littering or harvesting: Of course, Pisgah Hikers don’t litter or poach. Whatever we pack in we pack out. And what we see of nature in the woods we leave there for the next person to admire.
In Case of Trouble: If for any reason you feel weak or need to stop hiking, be sure to make that clearly known to the leaders. If you need to return to the starting point, at least one other person who is familiar with the trail will accompany you. Often there is no choice but to continue a hike or to leave a disabled hiker and go for help, because the shortest way out is not to return the way we came. A hiker’s inability to complete a hike can result in the whole hike being truncated. Our Liability Disclaimer is designed to enable other hikers to try to help you as best they can, but as it amplifies no one has any obligation to do so or to be able to do so.
The universal distress signal is three loud sounds: whistle blasts, shouts, whatever.