Hiking the Transition Seasons
September 25th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

Even though fall is cooler and cloudier than summer, don’t leave your sunglasses and sunscreen at home the next time you go hiking. UV rays are strong enough to penetrate thin layers of clouds and potentially damage your skin and eyes.
© iStock/Smileus

There’s something wonderful about the transition seasons, fall and spring.

With October’s arrival, temperatures are cooling and rain is starting to settle in again. It’s a time when you can encounter more wildlife without being eaten alive by bugs.

This combination of factors makes conditions for hiking and other outdoor activities near perfect.

If you were not active during the summer, take it slow at first. Let your muscles and lungs adjust to the new stresses on them. Start with short, easy hikes before tackling longer distances.

The same goes for shoes. Wear well-conditioned, comfortable shoes, or be sure new ones are broken in before going more than a mile or two in them.

Weather can change quickly during the transition seasons. Check weather reports before leaving and monitor them throughout the hike. Also, for safety’s sake, consider packing the 10 essentials. Find the list at www.sectionhiker.com/day-hikers-ten-essentials-guide.

Take along your camera and binoculars. The change in weather makes wildlife more active, so you are more likely to see it this time of year.

Try not to surprise animals, especially bears and cougars. Stay on developed trails. Make a little noise to announce your presence, particularly when rounding blind corners.

Keep in mind it is hunting season in many areas throughout the region, so use extra caution when hiking outside of developed areas. Wear brightly colored clothes or a blaze-orange vest to increase your visibility.

App of the Month—Geocaching
Geocaching is a treasure hunt for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The activity requires a GPS device to locate hidden geocaches. More than 2 million of them can be found around the world.

Geocaching, the app, is the best way to participate in this popular pastime. The free app is available for Apple and Android devices at the App Store and Google Play.

Fall Bass-Busting Tip
Bass become more active in fall, as water temperatures cool and the seasonal influx of baitfish begins. Take advantage of this critical period. Use crankbait to fish shallow, where most bass will be found. Focus on structure, as well as gathering and choke points that funnel baitfish, such as weed boundaries, creek trickles and where backwaters enter deeper water.

Something is Always On Sale
Preseason and postseason are the best times to buy gear, no matter the outdoor pursuit. For example, the best times to buy fishing gear are the fall for postseason bargains, and late winter and early spring for preseason doorbusters. Retailers use preseason sales to compete for customers, while postseason sales move out old merchandise.

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