Hiking the Transition Seasons
September 20th, 2017 by Curtis Condon

It is advisable to keep dogs on a leash while hiking. That is even more imperative in the wake of Hurricane Irma to ensure the safety of your dog and that of stray pets, as well as wildlife displaced and disoriented by the storm. © iStock/wojciech_gajda

There’s something wonderful about the transition seasons, fall and spring.

With October’s arrival, temperatures are cooling and rain is in decline. It’s a time you can encounter more wildlife without being eaten alive by bugs.

This combination of factors makes conditions for hiking and other outdoor activities near perfect.

If you were not active during the summer, take it slow at first. Let your muscles and lungs adjust to the new stresses on them. Start with short, easy hikes before tackling longer distances.

The same goes for shoes. Wear well-conditioned, comfortable shoes, or be sure new ones are broken in before going more than a mile or two in them.

Weather can change quickly during the transition seasons. Check weather reports before leaving and monitor them throughout the hike. Also, for safety’s sake, consider packing the 10 essentials. Find the list of items at www. sectionhiker.com/day-hikers-ten-essentials-guide or other sites online.

Take along your camera and binoculars. The change in weather makes wildlife more active, so you are more likely to see it this time of year.

Try to avoid surprising animals, especially bears, wild hogs and elusive Florida panthers. Stay on developed trails. Make a little noise to announce your presence, particularly when rounding blind corners.

Keep in mind it is hunting season throughout the state, so use extra caution when hiking outside of urban areas. Wear brightly colored clothes or a blaze-orange vest to increase your visibility.

App of the Month—Geocaching
Geocaching is a treasure hunt for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The activity requires a GPS device to locate hidden geocaches. More than 2 million of them can be found around the world.

Geocaching, the app, is the best way participate in this popular pastime. The free app is available for Apple and Android devices at the App Store and Google Play.

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Many of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.