Take a hike

This is a great season to do a ton of stuff outside. You can hunt light geese, and bear and turkey open soon. You can go fishing. Or you can just get out for a hike.

Go take a hike. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean you really ought to take advantage of the change in weather. We still have to watch out for the occasional spring snowstorm, and probably more than a few raindrops. But if you can find some time to get away when the wind isn’t blowing 50 miles an hour and the sun’s shining, drop everything else and just get out there.

Maybe it’s the season that does it to me, because I get this way every year. It probably has something to do with the new buds on the trees, the green grass poking up through the dead, brown stuff, and the flowers popping up everywhere. I just want to get out there and see everything waking up.

One word of caution, though. If you take a hike in the woods, take care to not startle any bears. Both black bears and grizzlies have been coming out of their winter dens over the last several weeks, and there are probably a few more late sleepers emerging all the time. The males tend to come out earlier, and the females with cubs join the land of the living a little later. They’ll be hungry and possibly a little cranky until they get their fill, which might take weeks. If they find a good food source, they’ll stay near it and guard it, so you don’t want to bumble into that situation. Make noise while you walk, and carry a fresh can of pepper spray.

Keep your eyes and ears open on your hike, too. I used to carry field guides with me so I could identify flowers and birds I hadn’t seen before, but that seemed to slow me down. Now I pack my camera everywhere I go, so if I see something new, I can take a picture and figure out what it was later, when I get back to the house. That allows me to go farther in the same amount of time, and it lets me extend the enjoyment of my walk long after I have to get back to the real world.

Throw some extra clothes, good rain gear, plenty of water, and a camera into a pack and get outside this spring. There’s plenty to see. Go see it all.

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