If I see you on the trail, you'll be greeted with a "howdy" – from a safe and responsible distance, of course. There's no way to avoid it and I apologize in advance if happy passersby aren't your thing.
One thing I've noticed in recent months is a downturn in friendliness on local trails amid an upturn in crowding. In the pre-pandemic days, it was common to be met with a smile and a greeting from fellow hikers. Nowadays, that seems to be a fading trend. And it makes sense – with trailgoers often masked and sometimes encouraged to turn away from those they pass, cordial behavior inherently plays second fiddle during the hiking experience in pandemic times.
Sure, societal changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed people farther apart during their real-world interactions. While this means that a newfound level of caution exists, it doesn't mean that friendly behavior can't take place. In a time when many people have turned to nature as an escape from stress and negativity, it's that much more important to bring positivity with you to the trail if you can.
Try to go above and beyond to be friendly, courteous, and respectful of fellow trailgoers. Do your part to keep this outdoor space a pleasant place for all to be.
Whether it's a "hello", "hi", "how are you doing?", or "howdy," remember that a simple greeting can go a long way.