The tension between slow hikers and fast hikers easily burns the whole group down. I know, because I experienced the frustration looking at the person in front of me disappearing behind the branches. I know, because I was left behind with blisters hiking alone in the dark with tears.
This is a real sore spot for the author of this blog, L’il Po, as she leads hiking groups. She is responsible for the safety of the entire group. Obviously when some speed ahead, it is impossible to ensure the safety of all.
But even with my own hiking friends speed is an issue. It must be addressed early in the trip.
Ideally I want everyone to hike the speed at which they are most comfortable.
Fast hikers (that get frustrated with the slow group) I urge to leave camp late. Give the rest of us a head-start, then catch-up.
Fast hikers can dash ahead to set up a lunch boil-up for the rest of the group. When we finally get there, the hot water is ready.
Fast hikers can climb up to vantage points in order to take photos of the rest of the group.
It is too much to ask for large groups to stick together all day, I feel. Assign one fast hiker to be the leader (and not let anyone pass) and another to hike last (and assist anyone who needs help). This way no one gets lost.
Leave a comment if you have any other strategies.