Here are some considerations for hiking, courtesy of the Washington Trails Association, once the “stay-at-home” order is lifted:
• Respect fellow hikers’ space. We likely will still be practicing social distancing this summer, so be mindful of this on the trails.
• Check to see whether specific trails are open. Not everything will open right away when the order is lifted. Trails are managed by lots of different agencies at the state and federal levels; they likely will reopen at different times and with different regulations in place.
• Trails will not have received any recent maintenance. After a rough winter, there will be trees down and damage on many trails. Be prepared, proceed with caution and remember it is OK to turn around at any time on a hike. Write trip reports to help share current trail and road conditions with the hiking community. Or consider volunteering on a WTA trail work party.
• Check the weather. Conditions in the mountains can be very different than at home. Snow covers many trails until late July, the weather can change quickly, and rain and runoff can make stream crossing more difficult.
• Start small. Many of us have been less active than normal. Transitioning to uneven ground and steep hikes might be harder than normal. Take it easy at first.