Is It Ever OK to Trundle Rocks?

Think before you throw.
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Trundling rocks

Sometimes, when the coast is clear, I roll small boulders down hillsides for the thrill of watching them smash things. Rockfall is just a part of nature, right?

—Exhilarated in El Paso

Dear Exhilarated,

First of all, it sounds like you might have some pent-up frustration. We’re here to talk if you need. Secondly, you’re right that rocks, trees, and ice fall all the time in nature. But that doesn’t mean rock trundling is an appropriate pastime—ever. Though you may delight in watching that stone tumble its way into oblivion, it’s causing all sorts of needless damage to plants, trees, animals, and their homes and habitats with every bounce. We hope you’ve had enough sense to trundle away from trails and campsites, but your antics nevertheless put other hikers at risk, too.

Do the Right Thing

It’s time to swear off rock trundling for good. Instead, channel all of that smashing energy into a day of volunteering on a trail restoration project. You can swing a Pulaski in the name of maintenance, and even (safely) move boulders in order to help build steps or water bars. We promise it will be more rewarding for all of us to see boulders hold up a trail than tumble down a mountainside.

Got an LNT confession? Email confessions@backpacker.com.

For more information about reducing your impact, visit Leave No Trace.