Jake and I both grew up camping and hiking and want to continue to instill the lifestyle with our kids and hopefully that will get passed on to their kids. We have backcountry camped in the all over the place (Alaska and Canada was pretty serious camping) and know there is a big difference in being close to amenities and then NOT. ;)
We wanted to take a moment to chat about it with you all, since we are always out on trails for the majority of our sessions/shoots. We also want to share these principles for everyone to think about and follow in your own lives when you are in the the great outdoors.
What does Leave No Trace (LNT) really mean?
The 7 LNT Principles
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
We will now share a little of our thoughts on each of the principles and how they relate to our adventure sessions, adventure elopements and mountain weddings.
PLAN AHEAD AND PREPARE.
Know where you are going and know what you are getting yourself into. Bring extra clothes, layers and items you think you might need. Check the weather to make sure you aren’t in for a huge rain storm or even snow storm.
Wear the correct shoes for the terrain. Bring enough water and snacks/food. Know where you are going and know all the rules and regulations for that location.
We will help plan the session/elopement/wedding, but you should definitely bring changes of clothes and shoes, even for a shorter adventure session. This area has a lot of rainfall and that means there can be a lot of mud on the trails.
TRAVEL AND CAMP ON DURABLE SURFACES
Walk on trails. Stay where there are already campsites. Super simple. We have seen so many photographers go off trails at really busy locations and have heard many have been ticketed for doing so. You mess with the ecosystem when you go off the trail. Also, you can step on snakes and other creatures, so stay on the trails.
We remember hearing about a wedding in Colorado a while back where the groom was bitten by a rattle snake. Totally not sure if he was off the trail, but regardless, just know that there can be some animals around and be aware of your surroundings while you walk.
DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY
Waste is gross. Whatever you bring out to the trail, pack it up and take it back with you. Have a plan for disposing the trash also.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. When hiking or camping for longer periods of time, you just can’t hold it. Sometimes you have to go when you are out on a trail, in the middle of nowhere. No shame. You should deposit solid human waste in catholes that are dug 6-8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, trails and camp. Cover the cathole when finished. Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. I don’t know how many times I have been on a trail and have seen diapers or other grossness. This has happened more at camping spots, but seriously it is disgusting and disrespectful.
If you are hiking longer and decide to camp, you will need need to cook and clean your dishes. You must carry water at least 200 feet away from streams or lakes. Use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Then scatter the strained dishwater.
LEAVE WHAT YOU FIND
Don’t pick up rocks, flowers, leaves, etc. Leave everything exactly how you find it. You don’t want to bring a flower or plant to a place that it does not natively grow. They could become invasive to the area.
MINIMIZE CAMPFIRE IMPACTS
If you are where fires are permitted, use already established fire rings, mounts, etc. If you are cooking, use a lightweight stove. Keep the fires small. They are much safer that way. Burn all of the wood and coals to ash. Once they cool and are out completely, spread the ashes. We tend to pour water on the campfires to make sure they are out.
Campfires are awesome when we are in an area that allows them. Especially on a cold night. Follow the rules and be safe and everything will be good.
Don’t go up to animals and don’t feed them. Control your own pets and follow the rules of the land (whether you must have them leashed, etc) or leave them at home if you can. Leave nests alone.
We have been backcountry camping and ran into foxes, caribou, moose, deer, elk, etc and have never had them try to hurt us. So don’t freak out. They are more afraid of you than you are of them. We recommend using a bear bell if you are in bear country. We also recommend talking while you hike so you don’t creep up on any animals (bears tend to not like that).
BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER VISITORS
If there are other people around, don’t disturb them. I don’t know how many times we have camped and people have their music up loud. For our sessions, we try to shoot when there aren’t as many people around, but sometimes it’s not possible if we can only schedule on the weekend.
We love doing more weekly sessions for many reasons, but the biggest one is having less people around.
We get that it’s a lot to take in sometimes, but it’s not too difficult to play by the rules. You can still have a ton of fun and preserve the land for many years down the road with your actions.
Check out the LNT website for more information.
We are destination wedding and elopement photographers who love capturing real moments in epic locations.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR ELOPEMENT + INTIMATE WEDDING COLLECTIONS.