Hip hip hurray! It’s officially the Summer Season! Do you have an outdoor adventure (or two or three) planned? Whether it’s camping, hiking, one of our adventure trails, or just hanging out at a park, we’ve got you covered with a few tips and reminders before you head out.
1) Check the trail before you.
If you haven’t been out on a trail in a while - or even if you have - it’s always a good idea to check it's conditions before you plan your trip. The brutal winter in the PNW this year has forced some of the most popular trails in the region to be closed for repairs. If you are going to a National Park for your trip, the park's official website will provide you with helpful details. In Portland, you can check the Parks & Rec site for trail conditions of their managed trails. Oregonhikers.org, a non-profit service run by Trailkeepers of Oregon, is another useful site for those of you living in the PNW.
2) Protect that skin.
Time to get out the sunscreen, if you haven’t already! I’ll admit that sometimes this is a hard one for us to remember because so often the days in Portland start out with clouds. That’s no excuse - 80% of UV rays pass through clouds. So don’t let any “June gloom” be an excuse to go sunscreen free.
3) Stay hydrated and fueled up!
It’s always a good idea to bring water and snacks on a hike matter what the season. When it’s warm out, it’s especially important to bring extra water because kids (and adults) can more easily become dehydrated. If you have a kid with a stubborn tendency to forget to drink H20, consider getting them a special bottle that will make hydration more fun. The folks at Raising Kids Wild also have a great idea that can help: use hiking as a time to try out new snacks. This way, breaks for rehydration and fueling have an added element of fun.
4) Watch for "leaves of three."
Summer season is also poison oak and poison ivy season. Before you go on the trail, learn what these plants look like and teach kids to avoid them. If you are going on a trail that might have these plants, wear socks and closed shoes to help protect ankles and toes.
5) Beware of ticks.
If you are a PNW resident, note that ticks tend to be found most often in areas east of the Cascades and in southern Oregon. If you are outdoors in a tick-heavy area, wear long pants and be sure to examine yourself and your kids for ticks when you return. Looking for more info? Whether you live in Oregon or somewhere else, the Oregon Hikers resource page has some great tips.
We’d love to hear from you with your advice to help with summer hiking. If you have a tip to share, leave it in the comments below. Happy and safe adventuring everyone!
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Bryna R. Campbell