Get Out There

Be Careful Hiking During Muddy Season

After months of staying indoors, it is finally warm all around the country. What a relief! We know that many people are feeling the urge to get outdoors and go for a hike. This time of year is fantastic for the weather and the spring greenery. It’s great to be out in nature now that the good weather is here.

However, while April showers bring May flowers, it also brings mud to hiking trails. That can make navigating paths a little tricky. If the ground in your yard isn’t firm, the ground in your local parks and forests won’t be either.

Just be aware that you might be ready for the trail, but the trail might not be ready for you,” said Brent Bolin, executive director of the Top of Michigan Trails Council. “Maybe you’ll need to get out and walk on a paved trail for a couple of weeks until things dry up or just understand it’s a transitional time of year and you’re not going to be able to go out and hit everything the way you can in July.”

Hiking on muddy paths can be dangerous as they can be slippery, or you can sink in. AllTrails lets you sort waling trails by surface types. You can pick a paved walk — which might be best until the weather becomes dry.

As it’s Earth Day today, we think it’s a great time to remember how important it is to take care of nature while enjoying it! In addition to being slippery, hiking on muddy trails can lead to erosion that can damage the environment for years to come. Often, when there are puddles of paths, we walk along the sides of the trails or step off them to avoid the water. It’s a natural instinct. However, it can lead to paths being wider and trampled, dead plants.

Instead of getting off the path, be prepared by wearing good boots built for mud with soles that grip. If you have to step off the trail, aim to step on rocks instead of the plant life. And, if a track is very muddy, turn around. It will be dry another day when you won’t risk harming the environment, and you will have a pleasant, safer walk.  

Consider using hiking poles. They are an excellent tool for multiple reasons. They can help you stay on your feet if the ground is slippery, and they help you know how deep a puddle is before you step into it! Stabbing the dirt with the pole can loosen it, so using rubber tips on them is a must. It lessens the impact on the environment but won’t impact how helpful the poles are to you. There are different types of hiking poles, aluminum and composite, and various kinds of hand grips for them, cork, foam or rubber. Finding the right one for you is critical. They can be bought at any sporting goods store.

Armed with this information, it’s definitely a good time to get back out onto the trails. The weather is lovely; go see the world!

Banner image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

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