cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


892 Summer Stories
There's Poop on the Trail

Aspen Brook Bridge

Aspen Brook Bridge on the Storm Pass Trail

As we hike, we stop and talk to almost anyone we meet. Well, anyone that seems like they might want to talk to us. Through the years we have noticed a possible correlation between the distance from the trailhead and the hospitality given and received by hikers, backpackers, and climbers. Once the adventurer has crossed the imaginary limits of the "I'm just a tourist" zone, most folks stop and talk to each other. The conversation usually gravitates to the conditions of the trail or destination. Tourist hikers on the other hand, don't want to act like tourists, so they never ask questions. Hmmm.

One of our favorite acclimating hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, is Estes Cone from the Lily Lake Trailhead. The trail climbs from Lily Lake to Storm Pass on a wonderful and relatively new sustainable path. Then, from Storm Pass, the trail climbs steeply to the summit of Estes Cone.

In the summer of 2013, we hiked Estes Cone, again, to push our lungs and our fitness and to confirm a few details on our map of the area. With an early start we climbed to the summit in a couple of hours and then after a short break headed back toward the trailhead. About one mile from the trailhead, we met a family of four who were hiking toward us. We assumed they were tourists who had wandered a bit too far from the trailhead, so we yielded the right-of-way and stopped to let them pass.

The youngest family member, a small excited red headed toddler, stopped and proudly announced, "there's poop on the trail!"

Mom and dad then let us know that it was not the toddler's poop as we laughed together. Meanwhile, the older bother seemed embarrassed by his siblings comment.

We confirmed that the pile was probably from a horse, as the path was a multi-use trail. Then we discussed the trail with the parents for a few minutes before parting ways.

From years of adventures in the mountains, it is always interesting to hear of other folks' discoveries. Though, commonplace to seasoned hikers, most neophytes (or those new to an area) become excited when they see wildlife such as a bear, marmot, moose, elk, etc. This was however the first time anyone we had met, was excited about horse droppings. The toddler was really cute and he was very excited.

We could only imagine the conversation within the family before we arrived. The toddler asking about the droppings? The parents explaining an answer. Perhaps the toddler was used to walking with a dog where they did pick up the poop, so why was the poop o the trail? The older brother shying away. The toddler delighted with his discovery.

Then, fortunately, we were able to meet them on the trail and share the ah-ha moment. The toddler's discovery made our hike special.

Happy Poop on the trails


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: