When 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.
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.
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.
Snow 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.
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.
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.