• Outdoors Outdoors

Hiker comes across frustrating scene at top of mountain peak on popular trail: 'That's awful'

"It's better that the mountain stays clean."

"It's better that the mountain stays clean."

Photo Credit: iStock

A hiker shared their frustration with litter on a beautiful hiking trail in Arizona.

The Redditor filmed a short video from Humphreys Peak and posted it in r/Flagstaff in June.

"I've been finding littered energy drinks on all of my Humphrey's hikes this year, not sure why so much this year," they wrote. "I really don't think it's from any locals, but please help and just throw any cans you see into your pack, if youre able, and pitch them in the trailhead dumpster. Sucks cleaning up other's trash, but it's better that the mountain stays clean. Take care out there!"

The poster even sacrificed themselves and their pack to the tobacco spit of whoever left one of the cans. 

"Aw gross, that's awful!" one commenter said. "You're a champ."

Aluminum cans are perhaps the most easily recyclable waste produced by humans. As long as they aren't ridiculously wrapped in or lined with plastic, they can be shredded, melted down, formed into ingots, and remelted to make more cans — an infinite loop. You can even get a little cash for them in some places, too.

As the poster noted, it's up to responsible individuals to clean up after careless ones. It may be frustrating and disheartening, but we can make a difference by setting a good example and modeling respect for the environment. 

In national parks and other scenic vistas, the number of visitors all but assures the presence of bad apples. Littering and exploiting nature, however, make lasting impacts. Trash, of course, defiles the beauty of these landscapes. It can also ruin others' enjoyment of them. And it poses risks, including life-threatening ones, to wildlife that eat or get entangled by everything from plastic bags to fishing gear.

Such garbage kills 100,000 marine mammals every year, according to Fauna and Flora, but bears, deer, and snakes, among other land animals, are susceptible too.

In addition to cleaning up after yourself and others, you can reduce your plastic consumption and resulting waste by getting a reusable water bottle, buying glass storage containers, and ditching store-bought cleaners — and their plastic packaging — for homemade ones.

If you're so inclined, it can't hurt to share your thoughts and progress with friends and family. A kind conversation on the trail could help misguided hikers, too.

"Thank you for cleaning this," one Redditor wrote. "These mountains are sacred to the indigenous people."

Someone else said: "I've taken to hiking with a trash bag in my pack because I find trash pretty much every time I go hiking. After Memorial Day weekend, I filled an entire kitchen trash bag with beer cans and plastic bottles."

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider