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Spring Hiking

Hiking in New Hampshire in the spring is an enjoyable experience for many reasons:

  1. Pleasant Weather: The weather in New Hampshire during springtime is usually mild and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from the 40s to 60s degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is ideal for hiking, as it is not too hot or too cold.
  2. Beautiful Scenery: In spring, the mountains and forests of New Hampshire come alive with blooming flowers, budding trees, and flowing waterfalls. This makes for a scenic and picturesque hiking experience.
  3. Fewer Crowds: Compared to the summer months, there are fewer crowds on the trails during spring, making it a more peaceful and less crowded experience.
  4. Waterfalls and Rivers: Spring is the season of snowmelt, and New Hampshire has many beautiful waterfalls and rivers that are at their fullest during this time of year. Hiking to see these natural wonders can be a breathtaking experience.
  5. Wildlife Sightings: As the weather warms up, animals start coming out of hibernation and become more active. This makes it more likely to spot wildlife such as bears, moose, and birds during your hike.

Overall, the combination of pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, fewer crowds, waterfalls, and wildlife sightings makes hiking in New Hampshire in the spring an exciting and fun experience.

Happy dog, hiking in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire it is always the best time of the year to hike.

The “First” of Spring

The first day of spring, also known as the vernal equinox, is a time when the day and night are approximately equal in length. It is a time of renewal, as plants and animals begin to emerge from their winter slumber. In many parts of the world, including New Hampshire, the first day of spring also marks the beginning of “mud season.”

This year the spring equinox — the beginning of astronomical spring in New Hampshire — occurs on Monday, March 20 at : 5:25 p.m. EDT

Mud Season

Mud season is a challenging time for hikers in New Hampshire. As the snow melts, the trails can become muddy and slippery, making it difficult to navigate. This can also result in damage to the trails, which is why many hiking trails are closed during this time of year.

However, hiking during mud season can also be a unique and rewarding experience for those who are prepared. Here are some tips to help make your mud season hike a success:

  1. Choose your trail carefully: Some trails are more prone to mud than others. Research your route and choose a trail that is less likely to be muddy, or one that is designed for muddy conditions.
  2. Wear appropriate footwear: Hiking boots with good traction are essential for mud season. Consider wearing gaiters to keep mud and water out of your boots.
  3. Bring extra clothing: Be prepared for changes in weather and temperature. Bring extra layers, rain gear, and dry socks.
  4. Stay on the trail: Avoid creating new trails or shortcuts, as this can cause damage to the ecosystem. Stick to established trails, even if they are muddy.
  5. Respect trail closures: If a trail is closed, respect the closure and choose a different route. Hiking on a closed trail can cause damage to the trail and the surrounding environment.

In summary, while mud season can present challenges for hikers, it can also be a unique and rewarding experience. By preparing properly and respecting the trails, you can enjoy a successful hike during this time of year.

Crossing Streams

Crossing streams during a spring hike can be hazardous, as the water levels can be higher than usual due to snowmelt and spring rain. It’s important to be cautious and prepared when crossing streams to avoid accidents and injuries. Here are some hazards to be aware of when crossing streams during a spring hike:

  1. Fast-moving water: Spring runoff can cause streams to flow faster and stronger than usual, making it difficult to maintain balance while crossing.
  2. Slippery rocks: Rocks and boulders in the stream can be slick and mossy, making them slippery and difficult to grip.
  3. Cold water: Spring water can be cold, and immersion can quickly lead to hypothermia, especially in the absence of proper protective clothing.
  4. Hidden debris: Fast-moving water can hide debris, logs, and rocks under the surface, making it challenging to see potential hazards in the water.

To safely cross streams during a spring hike, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Look for a shallow and calm section of the stream to cross, if possible. Avoid crossing in areas where the water is deep or moving fast.
  2. Use trekking poles or a sturdy stick for balance and support. Test the stability of the footing before putting your full weight on a rock or log.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear with good traction. Waterproof boots with good ankle support can provide additional protection and stability.
  4. Unbuckle your backpack and loosen your hip belt, so you can quickly get it off if you fall in.
  5. Cross with a partner or group, so that you can assist each other and have someone to help in case of an emergency.

In summary, crossing streams during a spring hike can be hazardous, but with proper preparation and caution, it can be done safely. Choose a shallow, calm section of the stream to cross, use trekking poles or a sturdy stick for support, wear appropriate footwear, and cross with a partner or group for added safety

Hiking Safely

Having a Hike Safe Card in New Hampshire is important for several reasons. The Hike Safe Card is a program offered by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department that provides funding for search and rescue operations in the state. Here are some reasons why having a Hike Safe Card is important:

  1. Supports Search and Rescue Operations: When someone is lost or injured while hiking, search and rescue operations can be costly. The Hike Safe Card program provides funding for these operations, ensuring that they can be carried out without cost to the hiker.
  2. Covers Costs: If you have a Hike Safe Card and need to be rescued, you will not be charged for the cost of the rescue operation. Without a Hike Safe Card, you may be liable for the cost of the rescue, which can be expensive.
  3. Provides Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have a Hike Safe Card can provide peace of mind when you’re out on the trail. If something does go wrong, you can be confident that the cost of the rescue operation will be covered.
  4. Encourages Responsible Hiking: The Hike Safe Card program also encourages responsible hiking by promoting education and awareness about safe hiking practices. This can help prevent accidents and injuries on the trail.

In summary, having a Hike Safe Card in New Hampshire is important because it supports search and rescue operations, covers the cost of rescue, provides peace of mind, and encourages responsible hiking. If you plan on hiking in New Hampshire, it’s a good idea to consider getting a Hike Safe Card to ensure that you are covered in case of an emergency.

You can learn more and obtain your Voluntary Hike Safe card here.

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