Fall is for Hiking – What’s in Your Backpack?

Photo: Flickr, Ann Hung

Like a picture postcard, Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains and their incredible hiking trails beckon. Without question, fall is one of my favourite seasons to hike. From St. Mark’s Summit to Quarry Rock autumn is an excellent time to tackle the trails. Crowds have dwindled this time of year, as though hikers, not unlike our local bears, have begun an early hibernation. The air is fresh and crisp, a welcome contrast to the searing heat of summer. Days are quickly getting shorter and time outside is precious. The sound of crunching leaves under my feet soothes me and serves as a reminder that winter is just around the corner. Yes, fall is for hiking!

Photo: Rob Weiss

As Vancouverites, we are blessed with our proximity to some of the best hiking in the province, perhaps the country. Mountains, lakes, rivers and alpine meadows are all minutes from downtown. However, occasionally I fear this closeness creates a false sense of security. Practiced outdoor folk are accustomed to dealing with the seasons and changing weather conditions. In fact, skilled hikers with proper gear and clothing learn to embrace the often erratic weather fall can bring to the North Shore. However, casual walkers are often ill-prepared. Remember, mountain weather can and will change often, easily and quickly. Your sunny stroll can soon become a cold, wet slog and a potentially dangerous situation. Planning and preparation is your best safety bet. Consider packing a little extra caution into your backpack and ensure you are carrying the 10 Essentials!

Photo: Rob Weiss

The 10 Essentials:

  • Flashlight or Headlamp
  • Whistle / Signalling Device
  • Fire Starter
  • Extra Clothes
  • Pocketknife
  • Tarp / Shelter
  • Water and Snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Compass, Map and GPS
  • Fully Charged Cell Phone

Photo: Rob Weiss

No matter what motivates you to enjoy a fall hike, dress in layers, log your trip plan, double check your backpack is loaded with the 10 Essentials and adventure smart!

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