Five Common Spring Hiking Hazards

spring hikingWhen peo­ple think about hik­ing in spring, they imag­ine beau­ti­ful green forests, flow­ing water­falls, bright sun­shine and crisp air, but spring hik­ing comes with its own haz­ards, so be wary. Every sea­son comes with dif­fer­ent chal­lenges and haz­ards, and it is impor­tant to be aware of the haz­ards so that you can stay safe.

Spring may seem beau­ti­ful but weath­er con­di­tions can be errat­ic. Your hike might begin in a warm, sum­mery val­ley, but you may find that after an hour you are walk­ing through heavy rain and snow.

Here are five of the most com­mon spring hik­ing haz­ards so you can stay safe when you are hik­ing.

Insects
One of the biggest hik­ing haz­ards in spring are the insects and bugs. Fly sea­son nor­mal­ly occurs between spring and ear­ly sum­mer, and if you are unpre­pared you will come home with lots of itchy bites that can take weeks to heal.

You will need to invest in a good insect repel­lent to take with you, and make sure to remove any insects or ticks that you see on your skin while you are hik­ing. You could also rub raw gar­lic on your skin before­hand as it is a nat­ur­al insect repel­lent!

You should wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks to min­i­mize the like­li­hood of insect bites. You can even tuck your pants into your socks to help keep insects on the out­side of your cloth­ing.

Flood­ing
Water cross­ings can become flood­ed in spring after heavy rains. This means that small streams can turn into rac­ing tor­rents that can eas­i­ly sweep you away. If you are plan­ning a hike, try to avoid water cross­ings unless you know that they are not flood­ed. Cross­ing a flood­ed water stream is very dan­ger­ous, and it is like­ly that you will get wet. This can be a real prob­lem if you are in a cold area as you are more like­ly to con­tract hypother­mia.

spring hikingSnow And Ice
Spring may feel much warmer than win­ter, but the moun­tains are nor­mal­ly still cov­ered in snow and ice. Make sure to wear long pants and sleeves if you are hik­ing in spring, and keep your hood up if you are walk­ing under­neath trees that are cov­ered in wet snow. It can also be use­ful to invest in snow shoes if you know that you will be hik­ing a snowy route. You can buy back­packs that are designed to hold snow shoes, which makes it eas­i­er to trans­port them when you are not wear­ing them.

If you are hik­ing an icy trail you should try to do the hike ear­ly in the day, as icy sur­faces are much eas­i­er to walk on when they are still sol­id. You can also buy spikes to help you stay safe as you cross icy paths.

Mud
As the ice and snow start to melt, mud becomes a real haz­ard. Most hik­ing trails are mud­dy dur­ing spring, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t hike. Sim­ply keep to the dri­est part of the trail (nor­mal­ly the mid­dle part), and make sure that you wear water­proof boots; if not your feet will quick­ly get wet!

It can also be use­ful to wear water­proof socks and trousers, as it is very like­ly that you will get wet mud on your ankles and legs. This will help to keep your ankles and legs warm and dry, no mat­ter how mud­dy the trail is. A cheap alter­na­tive: put your feet in plas­tic bags, though we can’t promise you won’t be met with any fun­ny looks.

Hunt­ing Sea­son
Lots of peo­ple assume that hunt­ing sea­son takes place in fall and win­ter, but spring is still hunt­ing sea­son for cer­tain species. Look up your state’s hunt­ing sea­sons to see if your hike takes place in a hunt­ing zone. If you are hik­ing through a hunt­ing zone, make sure to dress in bright col­ors, such as blaze orange, so that you are clear­ly vis­i­ble.