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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 1-Trail Conditions

Welcome to the first post in my series "31 Days to Becoming a Smarter Hiker".  Today I will be focusing on trail conditions.

There is nothing worse than getting to your hiking destination and finding it snowed in or driving halfway there and finding the road closed due to construction.  Uggh.  I have changed many a destination due to trip report information on the day of the hike.

A week before any hike I do, I always check the trail conditions to make sure there is nothing I need to be concerned about before I go.  Then, the morning of my hike, I check again just to be sure.  Here in Washington the best place I have found to get this information is the Washington Trail Association.  You can go here, search for your hike, and read the most recent trip reports.  There are usually a few reports that are pretty recent to go by.  If you aren't in Washington, I would use a search engine and type in your hiking destination and then trip reports.  For example "blue lake trip reports".

These trip reports will tell important information such as road closures/ bridges out/snow on the trail/mud/bugs etc.  This way you can be prepared to either change your destination or just bring more bug spray.
I have had a couple of experiences with trail conditions derailing my hike.  One time (did not check trip reports this time) we drove for an hour towards our destination.  We stopped at the ranger station for a potty break and were told that the trailhead was snowed in.  Luckily for us the lovely employees gave us an alternate hike that was just as great.  You can read about this experience here.

Another time (also didn't check trip report), we went to our destination and  less than a mile into our hike, the trail was covered in snow and we were unable to find our way on the trail. You can check this hike out here.  This is how my kids made up for the short hike.

When hiking with children, these reports are especially important for their safety and your sanity.  The last thing you want is to drive for an hour with antsy kids and have to turn around because the road is closed.
If you are unable to find a trip report for your hiking destination, have a backup plan. . Research another hike nearby that you can go to if your first option doesn't pan out.
Have you ever gotten to a hike and had less than stellar trail conditions that made your hike a bust?  I would love to hear about it.

Happy Hiking!

You might also like:
Day 2-Know Your TrailDay 3-Plant EncountersDay 4-Animal Encounters
Day 5-Hiking Terminology
Day 6-Hiking Etiquette
Day 7-Itinerary
Day 8-What to Bring
Day 9-Preserving Our Trails
Day 10-Hiking Passes
Day 11-Calorie Expenditure
Day 12-Let's Go Hiking!
Day 13-Hiking App
Day 14-Hiking with Dogs
Day 15-Conditioning
Day 16-Hiking Boots
Day 17-Hiking Safety 
Day 18-Pack it in Pack it out 
Day 19-Trail Maps 
Day 20-Pack Selection 
Day 21-Water 
Day 22-Hiking Photography 
Day 23-Hiking Poles 
Day 24-Hiking with Children 
Day 25-Hiking Clothing 
Day 26-Refueling 
Day 27-Just Go For It! 
Day 28-Ditch Day 
Day 29-How to Find the Best Deal
Day 30-#1 Tip 
Day 31-Last Day


  1. I think I'm gonna like reading your 31 days series! Looking forward to reading more. I grew up hiking and want to get my kids more involved in it. And do a lot more of it this coming fall.

  2. Glad to have you on board Sharon. Nice to know there are other hikermoms out there:)

  3. This looks so fun! My family usually hikes when geocaching on a trip. We're taking a roadtrip this month so your tips will be awesome!

  4. Hey! Thanks for stopping by
    Let me tell you, I love that you are doing this with your boys. Just love it!
    I'll be checking in on your 31 days series.
    What a great mom you must be!