Spring! Time for New Beginnings!

It’s Spring! Time to hike! The woods are alive with Painted Trillium, little Yellow Wood Violets, Wild Oats, Goldthread, and more!

While Fish and Game notes there have been almost as many rescues so far this year as for all of 2016, the good news is that more people are getting out and hiking. The physically fit are not the only ones on the trails. This spring, I am also meeting more of the not so physically fit on the trail, people who have decided to get out there and shape up! Their energy and delight in the forest is obvious and welcome!

To fully enjoy hiking, Hikesafe.com is an excellent website for information about hike planning, gear, hikes with kids, and hiker insurance. The first rule of thumb is to Carry Out What You Carry In. This includes orange peels, tissues, water bottles, etc. Our gift to the forest is that we Leave No Trace behind us.

The White Mountain Guide lists every trail in the White Mt. National Park, tells how to get to the trailhead, what you can expect on the trail terrain, the elevation gain, total mileage, and connecting links. This book with 4 maps is available in AMC Visitor centers,  book stores and State Park Visitor Centers. Many small trail guides for local areas are also available in book stores, general stores, the Rey center and specialty shops near the hiking area. Always ask.

Footgear needed depends on the hike. For well packed gravel trails like Smart’s Brook, the Flume Nature Walk, Lincoln Woods, or Mt. Agazziz, sneakers are fine.  A safer option for rocky trails and the granite slabs of higher elevations is a sturdy hiking boot with vibram sole that grips granite and gives support for awkward steps.

Best to start with short hikes on easy terrain. This gives you time to figure out what feels best for you, how much water and snacks you need, time to check out hiker information, perhaps join a local group, and gradually figure out what works best for you and your family.

Keep an eye out for Coltsfoot, the little yellow ray flower people often mistake for dandelion. This early bloomer puts up its flower first and the leaves that give it its name come later. You’ll find it along roadsides and gravelly places.

Wherever you find yourself, enjoy spring’s abundant welcome! May we each be inspired to honor and protect our forests, land and waters so that abundance will continue to flourish.


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