While there may still be some remnants of snow in the mountains, spring has gradually begun to creep up on us. With the first buds on the trees and warmer weather approaching, you might be itching to dust off the hiking boots and prepare for your first hike of the season. Getting out on the trails for the first time is always exciting (especially if you packed away your shoes last fall) but there are some things to remember and address before your first foray back out.
Maybe consider one of our Guided Trips for your first spring hiking adventure?
You also might want to check the current status of your hiking gear and see if you need to upgrade. Take your hiking boots/shoes out for a test walk to see if you think you might to replace, or if you feel like they are still perfectly fine (or need new ones), make sure you take a few brief walks in them before you hit the trails to get accustomed to them again. The same goes for your other gear items—did any break last year that could be repaired? Do you need new hiking socks? Is your first aid kit full or do you need to restock? Just be mindful of any new activity or gear before you head out on your first hike.
One of the first things to think about is your fitness level. Have you been hibernating this winter or keeping up with your usual workout routine? Hiking can be a taxing outdoor activity—especially if you’ve been taking it a bit slower during the winter months. Don’t forget, hitting the trails will test your balance, so if you’ve been mostly walking on the roads or a treadmill the past few months, you might want to start with some balance exercises to make sure you don’t twist an ankle or risk another injury. The last thing you want to do is set yourself back your first time out! You might want to add trekking poles if you feel a bit off balance or want extra assurance and boost of confidence, too.
Start small and work up
It’s best to start with shorter hikes to lower elevations to get your hiking legs back before deciding to do a longer hike to higher summits. It’s also worth noting that in the northern states like New Hampshire and Maine many summits still have snow, so unless you’re looking to hike in that, best to stick to the lower trails.
Spring is notorious for rain and muddy trails. Be cautious about planning your first hike and try to check out the current conditions of the trails. While trekking through mud might not be your favorite thing (especially if you just purchased new shoes) going off trail can cause damage to the trail network. Try to stay on the trail as much as possible and avoid any unnecessary divergent paths off trail.
Get out and explore a new trail or just set out to forest bathe and enjoy the scenery! You’d be amazed at the health benefits and mood changes you’ll experience getting back on the trails and enjoying the outdoors again this spring season.