March 24, 2018

Hiking Season In Full Swing

hikerAs the mosquito season draws to a close, and the snow has largely gone from the highlands, the hiking season is fully upon us. There are beautiful vistas to be seen, wildlife to enjoy, geological formations to marvel at and plenty of clean air to breathe.

Last year near the top of two top, I encountered a heavily-armed (with two big cans of bear spray) hiker from Oregon. He had started up at the Canadian border and was making his way South, walking every inch of the divide. He had some great stories to tell and his camera was filled with those once-in-a-lifetime photos. I immediately thought of what he would have missed had he spent the summer on the golf course, or in front of the TV.

While a GPS is handy to have when hiking around Island Park, I wouldn’t bother with maps unless you’re way into it. On most trails you can see where you’re going, and finding your way back is usually no problem (unless you start bushwhacking through the forest which is highly not recommended.) If you stay on the trails, the likelihood is low that you’ll get lost. The people that have problems are the ones taking short cuts.

All you need to hike in Island Park are sturdy shoes and clothes, a small rucksack for some food and water, a small first aid / survival kit, a GPS (optional,) bear bells (small bells you hang on your pack to allow bears enough notice you’re coming to get out of your way,) and some bear spray (in case they ignore the bells.) Finally, of course, it would be silly to hike without your camera.

If You are one of those people who is absolutely not going out without a map, topo maps are available at the ranger station in Ashton and the one in Island Park. I admit to having a full set of Island Park topos, but I will say I got them after I had hiked the area, so I could see where I was. That’s usually the way I do things.


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