Music On the Trail

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Lumbergh21
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Music On the Trail

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:01 pm

A discussion, ok argument, erupted yesterday in a Facebook group, Homemade Wanderlust, that I belong to. Someone had posted a link to an article critical of mt bikers that mount speakers on their bikes. I have noticed what seems like a lot of hikers using speakers while on trail or in camp. Some say this is a violation of LNT principles, as it's noise pollution. Others say it is just rude and inconsiderate of others. Finally, some defend it as useful or even necessary to keep bears away and also claim that headphones/earbuds are harmful to hearing and not an option. What do you say?








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sekihiker
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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by sekihiker » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:46 pm

No to speakers! Very rude.
Most of those people stick within a few feet of trails so I hardly ever hear them.
Speakers blaring keeps bears away? What a silly excuse for fouling the air with loud music from a speaker.

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oldranger
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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by oldranger » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:56 pm

Once when a large group of us were the only ones at a lake we played some music while markskor started following an infinte trail of ducks (a circle of ducks around the campsite). Before and since have never taken music on a trip. Wouldn't wear earphones/pads while hiking because then I'd miss the sounds of the wilderness and Mark's bitching. I have listened to recorded books when cross-country skiing solo on groomed trail, though. So I'm not a purist.

Scare bears away? Gee I want to see them. I wonder if that would work in Alaska when I'm fishing next to mr or mz Griz and family?
1griz.jpg
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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:32 pm

One person's "music" is another's "hell". Music seems to hit people at their core with definite preferences and dislikes. I do not even want to tolerate music that I highly dislike. So to me, it is more than a minor annoyance; it is super rude! I do not listen to music while on the trail; only an hour at night with ear buds because it helps me to fall asleep. I also dislike passing groups who are loudly, incessantly chattering, particularly if they are cussing up a storm. That happened to me last year in Wyoming- a group of jerks were loudly, obscenely swearing about women they had to work with. They did not even notice me chomping on my trail food leaning against a tree near the trail. Loud music or talking on the trail is not "treading lightly". There is worse; idiots shooting off their guns, across a lake when you are fishing on the other side.

Loud music on mountain bikes may be beneficial in that it would warn me of their approach. There are many trails at Henry Coe that allow both bikes and hikers, and it sure is helpful to hear them coming. In that case, I have no problem with their music.

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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by SSSdave » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 pm

Listening to music has been discussed on this and other boards many times. The vast majority of backcountry enthusiasts whether or not they listen to music at all, don't care as long as one is not annoying others. That is where trouble begins. Not many are so rigid they would demand people not even do so wearing headphones or earbuds though it is perfectly reasonable some who do not might offer reasons why they personally do not. However when playing speakers that others nearby can hear, a majority have always considered such annoying. In more urban parks on mixed hike and bike trails, the issue is not as clear and suspect some of those urban visitors may myopically inconsiderately think it is acceptable to take those same behaviors out into our mountain parkland.

I personally think it is fine playing speakers out in the backcountry IF one is truly at a remote location other won't be able to hear however that depends on specifics I have no confidence in some others being able to evaluate. Thus recommend not doing so and instead use headphones or earbuds.

My own experience is very few understand sound phenomenon outdoors and factors that affect how far and where sound might travel. During warm sunny mid day hours sound is not going to travel very far. I challenge others to test how far they can hear their friends yelling from versus using an emergency whistle and do so in different places. One will immediately find even a loud voice in direct line of sight does not travel too far. Add some wind in trees noise or blocking elements like trees, boulders, hills, and even less. Typical small low weight speakers one might carry up into the backcountry are probably going to carry even less distance. However in the same situation someone up atop a nearby hill may easily hear the same sound. As the air cools during evenings, sounds can travel far further as sound waves bend downward traveling along at ground level. Even loud talking can often be heard across sizable lake waters during evenings.

If someone is in a remote place far from trails or popular places they think they are alone at and mid day is playing a speaker but then finds out there is actually another group nearby, they ought stop doing so especially if asked to not do so as many others feel very strongly about the issue. Do I think I can find places where others are not going to hear small speakers? Yes. Again, do I think all average others can do so? No. As an example, there are rock walled canyon arroyos in Death Valley NP I've explored into that I was dead certain there were not only no others within earshot but none within miles. Likewise out in large open desert or sagebrush expanses where one can see all around long distances.

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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:45 pm

oldranger wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:56 pm

Scare bears away? Gee I want to see them. I wonder if that would work in Alaska when I'm fishing next to mr or mz Griz and family?
1griz.jpg
The one who said he had to play music on speakers to warn bears of his presence is a guide in Skagway, Alaska according to his Facebook page. I asked him if he had any data to support the idea that the music reduced his chances of being mauled by a bear, such as a much higher bear attack rate 20 years ago. His response is that every ranger, outdoorsman, etc tells you to make noise in bear country so as not to surprise a bear. I've never surprised a bear. I've unintentionally gotten closer than I wanted, but the bears didn't seem surprised. They were always staring right at me by the time I saw them.

The other defenders of playing music out loud took the tact of "it's a free country and I'm not bothering anybody anyway."

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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:01 pm

Not "bothering anyone" does not take into account animals. Unnatural noises in a natural environment can bother some creatures, particularly during nesting times.

It definitely is recommended to travel in groups of four or more in serious grizzly country. The idea is both the extra noise from footsteps, chatter, etc. and four people presenting a more intimidating target for a bear and more to fend off the attack. Bears hear a group of humans so I doubt music would add much. Perhaps a solo hiker may not be heard. When I see bear signs, I tap my trekking poles together regularly and purposely walk more noisily than I usually do.

On the contrary I think being distracted by music would make you MORE vulnerable in bear country. In serious bear country you carry bear spray and need to get it ready to shoot if you see a nearby bear. You really have to concentrate on your environment, not music.

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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by balzaccom » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:03 pm

What? Sorry, I can't hear you. Some idiots is playing music across the lake and somehow seems to think that the rest of us want to hear it...
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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by ironmike » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:50 pm

Would that be Guitar lake by any chance? :rock: ](*,) [-X

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Re: Music On the Trail

Post by c9h13no3 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:59 pm

Ultralight instruments: harmonica, kazoo, vuvuzela

If you find solitude, play whatever music you like :-)

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