After a long, wet, and gray winter, the first glimpse of spring tends to incite a bit of a frenzy among those "spiritual prospectors" looking to get out and reconnect with Mother Nature! As John Muir once stated, "the mountains are calling and I must go," and many who love nature and the healing aspects it offers feels this pull very strongly. The time for spring is right around the corner and the time to get out and learn and connect with our our greatest and oldest teacher, Nature is upon us, so what are you waiting for? Spring time hikes not only get you ready by building strength and knowledge, but summer hikes can be even more enjoyable and fantastic when you spend the spring preparing. By hitting the trails now, the more ready you will be to tackle those longer hikes with great weather and longer days during the summer months. Here are few tips to help you get ready for your awesome hike!
Planning - As with any hiking trip, planning the hike is paramount. Trip reports from several hiking websites can guide you to the right trail at the right time of the season.
Snow Conditions - Most trip reports of the local area will detail the trail conditions, access to the trail from the roads, what type of gear and shoes (or snowshoes) that are suggested. Trip reports are valuable for updating downed trees from the winter months and parts of the trail that may be washed out.
Weather - Mother Nature has her own forecast, so make sure to check in with local weather reports, mobile weather applications on your phone for real-time updates, and if you need more personal assistance, the knowledgeable staff at many ranger stations or information centers most always have the latest updates on constent weather changes, especially in large mountain ranges and longer hikes. Don't let the rain and snow keep you inside! If you do, you'll be missing out on many great outdoor experiences, views and unique outdoor opportunities. With comfortable and appropriate gear for the spring months, you can hike safely in the rain and carrying extra clothing (also called layering) is vital particular when hiking during the spring months and changing weather patterns.
Conditioning & Fitness - When you prepare and get out for spring hikes, your conditioning and endurance will have you in tip-top form for the long, beautiful summer hikes ahead! Increasing lung capacity with strengthened muscles will have you strutting down the path in no time and enjoying those summer hikes with a deeper connection to nature because you took the time to prepare your mind, lungs, and muscles, and do not have to focus on all the huffing and puffing. Planning and preparation are always worth the effort, especially when it comes to hiking in the great outdoors.
Preparing Your Mindset - A lot of people do not like hiking in the spring because of the changing weather patterns and constant rain, It is tough to have a good time or enjoy your spring hike if you are feeling uncomfortable, so planning and gearing up properly for a "singing in the rain" type hike is paramount. "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." -Dr. Wayne Dyer. Enjoying yourself and your spring hike can be less-than-ideal weather requires more than preparing, the right gear, proper outerwear, it also requires a change in your mindset and how you approach a hike during the spring months. If you are well-prepared for the weather and willing to be a little creative and receptive to rainy spring hikes, you may find them to be very enjoyable and usually can have the trail all to yourself!
Accept The Wet Weather and Stay Positive - When you look past the weather and rain or snow coming down, you can be a part of a beautiful, coming-alive environment with the growth of many plants, a jungle of lush green moss, the budding of some flowers or mushrooms, to even a few small animal sightings depending on the location of your hike. The sky may be dark and dreary on your spring hike, but your outlook can be as bright as the sun and as dry as the desert, because during a spring hike with even the best rain gear, you will get wet and that is part of the experience of learning, connecting and interacting directly Mother Nature herself. You can keep dry clothes in the car to change into after your spring hike and always make sure to carry along 'The 10 Essentials of Hiking' on all of your upcoming hikes!
Most Importantly - Enjoy the peace and quiet of your spring hike as it soothes and heals the soul. Trails can typically be less crowded with people, their animals (on or off a leash), on trial conversations from others that can echo up the trail and just be with the sounds of nature, your thoughts, and maybe even the sounds of labored breathing as you lay the foundations for better conditioning, fitness, endurance for those nice, warm, and enjoyably summer hikes ahead of you!
"Take the time to disconnect so that you may have the time to reconnect." ~The Intuitive Prospector