Monday, April 9, 2012

Research before hiking in unfamiliar area

Black bear. Photo courtesy
Great Smoky Mountains NPS.
When planning to hike in an unfamiliar area, know what plants and animals are there so you can avoid them if necessary. If you don’t know much about the plants or animals – such as what they look like – you’ll want to research that.

Recalls parent Vera E., of Burlington, Vt.: “We took a hike in northern Vermont during the fall when the foliage was a blaze of colors. I guess I was a little too taken in because I didn’t pay attention to what the trees were telling me: We were walking into bear country. The trail wound through beechnut, apple, and cherry, all of which produced fruits that bears gorge on as they near hibernation.

“When we spotted a big sow just off the trail, we froze. Luckily we were downwind from it and were able to turn back with incident.”

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.