The increasing popularity of hiking has been simultaneously exciting, with the growing appreciation and enthusiasm of the natural wonders of Washington, and troubling in the manner in which hikers of popular trails are learning to interact against conventional trail guidelines.

My hope involves a Washington in which our beloved hikes can be experienced sustainably with the utmost respect for Mother Nature and each other. I would plead with aspiring and experienced hikers to consider the following in preparing for upcoming encounters with the wilderness:

1. Say hello and acknowledge our shared humanity.

2. Refrain from playing music through external speakers. Hiking is a unique opportunity to mindfully embrace the sounds of nature within the rustling trees, flowing rivers and thunderous waterfalls.

3. Refrain from using spray sunscreen and insect repellent. Most spray products fly away from their intended recipient and instead pollute our precious lakes, rivers and wildlife.

4. There are no shortcuts in life; taking shortcuts leads to rapid erosion of traveled routes. Please follow the established trails.

5. Don’t feed wildlife for any reason, and pack out all litter including supposed biodegradable food waste such as banana and orange peels.

Matt Langedyke, Everett