Let’s say the symptoms of spring fever suddenly flare up on you when you’ve got a free day. You dig into the back corner of your closet where you last remember seeing your boots and hiking gear, and lace up and cram in a few things into your daypack. At least here the snow has just cleared and the air and soil share a similar soggy quality. It’s not a terrible idea to get an early start conditioning to up for hiking, but then the weather conditions are still going to take some serious consideration for safety. The thing about those of us living inland and up in the mountains is that we base clothing levels on a skewed relative perspective on the outside temperature. I was reminded this winter that it get’s really cold here with a relentless chill to the point that it eventually seems normal.
Typically in very early spring, even in February some years, there is a brief interlude of warmer weather, thawing the ice and draining away the blackened slush from the streets. We go delirious and euphoric from the break in the deep freeze and we feel like dancing and frolicking outside, in our t-shirts and shorts of course. Within days reality sets back in and we strap into 6-inch thick pressurized environmental suits again for another month or two. Having lived in warmer climates like Hawaii and California I’ve seen this effect play out for gleeful vacationers. From the perspective of a local I would put on a sweater if it got into the 60s, and I’d be properly bundled up if it got any lower (fortunately a very rare situation).
So, to my amazement, there would be those visitors to the region who were perfectly thrilled to be wearing the tank tops, shorts, flip flops and sunglasses on those days I thought I should take special care not to get the sniffles. I made that long tangent just so I wouldn’t have to lecture about how you should still dress dry and warm for hiking in the early spring. I could come up with some quirk of life that I could tie in to watching out for seasonal landslides and cold weather injuries, but I don’t think telling you about having a Matsumoto’s shave ice after a hot day surfing on the north shore of Oahu will help keep focus here.cold weather hiking boots landslide safety spring trekking weather winter