#1 EMBRACE THE MUD
I am positive this first one will make some parents cringe right off the bat. But its true, if you are hiking in mud season you will get muddy and wet. Good trail etiquette means going right through the mud NOT around it. Going around the muddy areas widens the trail and harms vegetation and wildlife that call the trail edges home.
Invest in a good pair of waterproof shoes or boots to combat wet feet. Carry an extra pair of socks (or two) to change into if feet get wet. Bring along some bread bags to avoid putting dry socks back into wet boots. Also remember little feet have little boots, if the mud is deep it is more likely to be over the top of your child’s boots than your own.
#2 RESPECT ANY TRAIL CLOSINGS
Sometimes when the mud is particularly bad, trail maintainers will close trails down to avoid damage. Beforeheading out on a hike do some research to make sure the trail is open by checking trip report website or local facebook groups. If you arrive at a trail that is closed, please be respectful and do not hike it, find something else to hike instead. If hikers ignore trail closings it can lead to severe damage to the trail and lead to permanent trail closings and the next generation might not be able to enjoy the trail.
#3 HIKE ON DURABLE SURFACES
When trails close for mud its time to find alternatives. Utlizing trails that have durable surfaces is a great way to make it through mud season. Local rail trails and city parks are often great options, since the paths are either paved or made with crushed and hard packed gravel. As a bonus many of these type of trails feature a playground nearby so while it might not be the most exciting hike ever, they can still have fun.
#4 PACK EXTRA STUFF
And lastly to tie back into the first tip is to always have extra stuff. What parent doesn’t already have enough stuff in the back of their car to outfit an entire football team? Mud Season is no time to make an attempt for a clean car (inside or out!). Keeping an extra change of clothes, socks and shoes is a good idea so you can change out of mud caked clothing before driving home. Even consider investing in one of these devices to help hose off a bit if needed, these are especially helpful if you hike with a dog!
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