Autumn is the most beautiful time of the year to hit the trails around the Bay Of Quinte. The Conservation Areas and Wildlife Areas are bursting with fall colour, and to be honest the crowds have thinned (depending on your destination). One of the best parts about fall hiking…. NO BUGS!
It should be noted that just like any other type of outdoor recreation, hiking does come with risks. And keepings the these risks in mind will make for a enjoyable Day Hike. The fall does bring shorter days, colder nights and something to keep in mind is weather conditions…. In the fall it can chance quickly. With that said packing your daypack with some extra caution will have you ready for the trails.
It’s always a good idea to plan your day trip by picking a trail and checking the forecast before you head out. Always let someone know where you will be and when you will be returning (if you can’t do that, leave a post on your social media page or a note in your car before you hit the trail). With the colder setting in and chancing weather, its always a good idea to bring extra warm clothes and some essentials that might save your life should you get lost or injured.
Tips for Safe Hiking in The Fall
1. Check the latest trail conditions. You can do this by contacting the local Conservation office or the trail’s property management. You might think this detail is not important, but I have on many occasions showed up to find a trail has been closed due to maintenance or to high water levels.
2. Let someone know where you are going. if you are out hiking alone, take the time to email or call somebody and let them know that you’ll be hiking and when you expect to be back. Let them know the important details so if they don’t hear back from you by a certain time they know to alert the proper authorities.
3. Always pack the 10 essentials on any hike. These include: a trail map and a compass (be sure you know how to use one!), extra food, extra clothing, a fire starter, matches, sun protection, a pocket knife, first-aid kit, flashlight and for me I always bring a Lifestraw or some water tabs just in case. In unpredictable weather, it’s also a good idea to bring some sort of emergency shelter, even on a day hike. Hiking poles can be helpful and trust me they can save your knees and help with balance on the trail. Remember, cell phones don’t always get reception and batteries can fade quickly in cold weather, so don’t rely on a mobile device to save your life if you find yourself in that situation – this is why you pack the essentials.
4. Watch weather forecasts. In fall, weather can turn cold and rainy in an instant. If you encounter bad weather, leave the hike for another day!
5. Share the trail with hunters. Fall is hunting season, and each year hunters come out to pursue deer and other game. You won’t encounter this at your local conservation areas, but when hiking on other properties, wearing an orange hat or vest is a VERY GOOD IDEA!
(Find more inspiration to get outside in the Bay of Quinte Region on Justin Anderson’s blog.)