Anger, and my well-exercised imagination

Hi Brooke,
I was out for a hike this morning – gorgeous day for it! This will sound odd, but I have a lot of anger issues that arise around hiking. I think thoughts that make me angry – about too many people on the trail, people who are too loud, people who leave doggie poop bags on the side of the trail, people who leave graffiti … I’ll stop there, but trust me when I say I’ve created quite a thick manual for other hikers. I know this isn’t productive, I know I’m only ruining the experience for myself , especially because the people I’m angry at are generally long gone.
So, this morning I was enjoying my hike, and then found myself getting angry (about trail damage done by people who are long gone). I tried allowing the feeling and being compassionate with myself about being angry. I tried exploring the thoughts causing me to feel angry. I thought about whether those thoughts made sense, and what I wanted to think instead. I know replacing those thoughts will take time and practice, but I’m wondering if you have suggestions for how to handle the mental spin in the moment?
I spent most of the rest of the hike trying to redirect my brain away from all the fun it was having, imagining what I’d say to someone if I caught them in the moment. I have a very active imagination [grin]. I do this often when I’m angry, spinning out entire conversations (both sides) of what I’d say / wish I’d said / wouldn’t ever say but wish I could. Clearly an egregious waste of mental energy, and a very unpleasant and unwanted distraction from my hike. I tried thinking other thoughts. I tried to focus on the trees, and the birds, and the sunlight. But my mind kept wanting to spin back into the same loop. It was exhausting.
Any suggestions for how to exit the loop in the moment? I listened to your anger podcast, which was helpful, but I don’t think it addressed this issue. I’m thinking maybe meditation would help me strengthen my ability to corral my brain when it’s running amok on something. Any other ideas?
Signed, grumpy hermit hiker…. 😉