March 25, 2016

Spring might be my favorite time of the year! Pretty much all of my hobbies are possible, some of them are even best in the Spring.

To me, the warmer months mean longer days, nicer weather, and the promise of new adventures. I hike a lot in the Spring. This time last year, I had a new puppy to introduce to the world. We were outside constantly showing her about the magic of mud, leaves, and rivers.

Sunny Spring days mean great fishing weather. Hiking alongside a fast-flowing mountain stream, looking for good fishing spots is amazing this time of year. As insects hatch, the fish become more and more active.

No matter what you like to do, Spring is a great time to start again. Getting active again and getting outdoors after a long Winter feels great.

I already have a full calendar planned for all Spring long. I never pass up the opportunity to get outside this amazing time of year. Here are some tips to make this your favorite time to get outside as well:

Take it all in, Tread Lightly

As flowers start to bloom, and trees bud out, the outdoors really come alive. Every day you can see buds that weren’t there the day before. Everything starts to grow again. Pretty soon, the bugs will be abundant, and the grass will need mowing. For now, just enjoy it.

With the warmer temperatures, everything starts to thaw. With more rain, too, comes mud. Really muddy trails don’t just mean you might get your feet wet; mud on trails means you need to tread lightly when you’re out.

If your destination is really wet and muddy, it’s best to go somewhere else. When a trail is wet, any added traffic is doing more harm than it would any other time of year. Go some place that drains better--this usually means somewhere higher up or farther from a water source.

If conditions aren’t too bad, and you still want to go, try to lessen your impact. Walk where there’s already deep ruts or mud, not around them. Try to never make a trail wider. When you make a trail wider, you’re destroying habitat and contributing to erosion. One person walking has little effect, but too many people have that mentality. Each person needs to make decisions that benefit everyone else. Leave No Trace ensures that the trails we love today will be around for years and generations to come.

Anticipate Unpredictable Conditions

Spring brings so much growth and change to the landscape. All Winter, you might have been able to hike under grey skies with only the threat of flurries. Those calm days are gone. In Spring, anything can happen. You could wake up to inches of snow on the ground or have a whole day of drenching rain.

Mountain streams that trickle the rest of the year might be raging now. If you aren’t prepared for unpredictable conditions, you might not have a great experience.

Make sure to check the weather before you go out and pack an extra layer or two. There’s no telling whether you’ll want your rain jacket or a swimsuit. Spring is a great time to get outside as long as you can adjust to whatever comes your way.

Go When the Getting is Good

If it’s a nice day, GET OUTSIDE. A sunny Spring day is a true gift. It won’t be too hot or cold. The newly revitalized forest and Spring flowers bring epic sights and sounds! Things change fast, though.

One Spring day might be great. The next it might start to rain and continue for a week. If the weather is good and you can get outside, go do it.

Once the Summer heat comes, you’ll remember these Spring days fondly. Soon enough it’ll be more fun to sit in the air conditioning than brave the scorching July sun.

Add Variety

Spring is the best time to try new things. You have so many nice months ahead of you to develop new interests and hobbies. Don’t be scared to take lessons or try something new.

Hiking is a great option for every season, but Spring is extra special for a few other sports. Some people swear that Spring is the best time to go fishing. As the water warms up, hungry fish come out looking for food. As more bugs hatch, many fish only get more and more active into the warmer months.

Once it gets warm enough, paddling in the Spring is amazing. Rivers tend to be higher than other times of the year, which makes for exciting conditions to hone your skills! As the weather keeps getting warmer, you’ll be glad you’re out on the water.

No matter what you want to do, now is a perfect time to start. Whether it’s something simple like going on a new trail or embarking on a new hobby that could become a passion, Spring is a great time to start and grow.

Plan Your Gear Accordingly

I can’t talk about the outdoors without bringing up gear at least once. The good new is, Spring is pretty easy.

Make sure all your clothing dries fast and can keep you warm if it needs to. As the year rolls on, you’ll be able to care less and less about warmth and more and more about staying cool.

Pack plenty of water. I always carry more than I need. You body isn’t used to the warmth yet, and you’re hopefully pushing your adventures to new heights! This means you might need to drink more or eat more to compensate. Always make sure you have plenty of ways to stay hydrated. On a short hike, a water bottle can be enough. For longer outings, always make sure to carry your water filter and water purifier with you!

As long as you have plenty of water, a snack, and clothes that’ll dry fast and keep you warm enough for the conditions, you should be good to go! Bring the other essentials you’d bring hiking and head out!

Get Outside!

Quit reading about it and go do it. There is no better time to try something new or get on a trail you’ve never been on before. Just remember to tread lightly, keep your impacts low, and take only pictures.

If you have any questions about getting started or hiking in the Spring, hit me up on Twitter: @Jonathn_Roberts and follow my hiking posts on Instagram: Jonathn_roberts