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5 Tips for Hiking in the Fall
The crisp, clear days, thin crowds, and vivid colors that define the high country this time of year are all the motivation you need to lace up your boots and hit the trails until the Christmas music starts. Here are just a few things to keep in mind to ensure a fun and safe season of hiking:
BE MINDFUL OF HUNTERS
For sportsmen, fall is the most anticipated time of the year. Hunting season is in full force and hikers should take precautions. Pack a blaze orange vest if you will be near an open hunting area—they’re cheap, widely available at sporting goods stores, and could save your life. If you happen to come upon some hunters, make sure they are aware of your presence. If you hear gunshots, judge the distance, keep your eyes open, and remain visible. If the whole lot makes you uncomfortable, stick to national or state parks.
It’s important to be prepared on any hike, but especially in the fall. If you’re staying overnight bring the essentials: food, water, map, compass, headlamp with fresh batteries, etc.
An emergency blanket with a decent length of parachute cord or survival bracelet is useful as an emergency shelter or tarp.
Bring a sleeping bag liner. They not only bump up the heat rating of your sleeping bag, but they have an added comfort factor that is hard to beat on a brisk autumn night. Always pack waterproof pants and straight wool socks too. A lot of synthetics lose their warmth when they’re wet. Pack extra socks before anything else because hiking on soggy feet horrible.
I also really like to bring a reliable fire starter like petroleum jelly-soaked cotton balls (trust me it works) because dry tinder can be hard to come by. And don’t forget the camera to capture the beauty!
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINATION WISELY
The best fall hiking experience is a perfect combination of timing and location. Many trails this time of year will be bursting with fall colors, while others may be under a foot of snow. If you’re not familiar with your local area, chat with a ranger and get recommendations for best hikes in your area or find a regional hiking blog. This is a great time of year for hikes to hot springs, deciduous forests or spotting wildlife during the middle of the day.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE FORECAST
Keep an eye on the forecast, the mercury can drop faster than the leaves. Make sure you’re well prepared for the weather conditions in your area. Keep an eye on trail and road conditions in your area. If you’re hiking in a national park, take the time to visit their website and get up to date information regarding your hike. If you think you’ll be running into snow bring some yak-trax and trekking poles at the very least.
Article credit: Derek Schroeder https://blog.theclymb.com/tips/5-tips-hiking-fall/