Five Reasons To Love Fall Hiking
T-minus 217 days
It hit me today that this time next year I will be on my final leg of my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. A scary thought considering this is how Katadhin looked this afternoon:
Regardless, this realization made me want to do nothing more than get outside and explore how beautiful the Pennsylvania woods are this time of year. Due to a very busy weekend however, I was unable to do anything outdoors related (so I just bought some hiking gear instead. Not an awful alternative).
It breaks my heart, but every year around peak fall foliage, school gets CRAZY BUSY and I never have time to go hiking. I honestly don’t think I have a favorite season to go hiking (because there are major perks to all of them) but autumn definitely has a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, as soon as it starts to get a little bit cooler, many people consider hiking season to be over. This is the complete opposite of true. Every season is hiking season, you just have to prepare a little bit differently:
Top 5 reasons you should hike in autumn.
1. Leaves, obviously
It goes without saying, but many people enjoy getting outdoors in the autumn to see the beautiful display of colors that Mother Nature puts on for us. Where many people go wrong though, is not researching the peak fall foliage dates for their area. The information is easily accessed with a quick Google search, and can almost guarantee that you will see the maximum amount of colorful leaves when you choose to go out.
2. Brisk weather
Brisk weather is perfect to hike in. Not too hot, but you definitely don’t go numb from the cold like in the winter. You may be a little bit chilly at first, but as soon as you start walking and breaking a sweat, your body should regulate to the perfect temperature. Plus side, the cooler air makes your water stay cold all day.
We all know just how awful it is to climb a mountain with a thousand day hikers right next to you, and then another thousand when you reach the top. There will still be a decent amount of people out there who are interested in seeing the beautiful trees, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Compared to summer, the trails will practically be empty.
It’s always really cool to see the deer starting the grow in their winter coats, huge groups of birds flying south, or to watch all the little squirrels collecting nuts. Autumn is a very busy time in the forest, and you will have a pretty good chance to see some animals prepping for the long winter ahead. Be careful where/when you are hiking though, autumn is also known as hunting season. Plan ahead and wear blaze orange if needed in areas where hunting is permitted.
Water just looks fantastic paired with the crisp leaves. Whether the leaves are floating downstream, or reflecting off of the water. Hiking centered around water make for stunning displays all season long.
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Fall is indeed a beautiful time to go hiking. Also, be aware that rocks covered with wet or damp leaves can be very slick increasing your risk of slipping and sliding which can result in falling and getting injured. Be safe out the Rest!
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