Outdoor hikes are simply the best in autumn when trees boast their colorful leaves, and the air has that hint of spice to it. With the restrictions due to the pandemic in place, fall hikes might look different this year.
Hikes don’t have to be big, they can be as simple as a stroll in the local park. As you prepare for this fall, here are some things to keep in mind:
Bigger hikes or trips to national parks can expose you to a huge group of people also out exploring. However, it’s best to avoid crowds these days and choose trails that are not that busy.
Plan your hike for a time when there is less traffic. If your selected location gets crowded at 10 AM, aim for a 7 AM hike. By the time it gets busy, you’re already on your way out.
If you’re just starting to get active after a few months at home, try shorter and easier hikes. It will help you ease into it and let you focus on enjoying the trail. Shorter hikes allow your body to easily transition from being sedentary to active (minus the injury and muscle spasm).
Bring (or download) a map.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and since most responders are busy helping with the patients, getting lost is not an option. So, arm yourself with a map (and bring a compass too).
Wear the right clothes.
Fall weather can be tricky. It can easily transition from hot to cold, and in some instances, to rainy. Therefore, wear something that can keep you dry throughout the entire trip. Grab some dry-fit and put on blister-resistant socks. Don’t forget to bring your rain gear!
This is a no-brainer. There is not much worse than being in the middle of nowhere with zero water left.
Once you’re prepped, then head out and hike! But remember to observe proper hiking etiquette. Stick to the trail and avoid trampling on vegetation. Leave wild animals alone (no matter how cute they might be). If you’re coming head to head with another hiker, stand on one side and let them pass. Also, some trails require visitors to put on masks, so make sure to check that out ahead of time. Never (ever) leave your trash on the trail. Used masks, soiled tissue, food wrappers, and even emptied water bottles should be packed out.
With the current world situation, it can seem intimidating to go out. But with the right preparation, you’ll be able to have a fantastic fall hike.