By: David Ball
As spring is fast approaching, we’re in the midst of Multi-Sport March. Is it ski season? Maybe it’s actually warm enough we start biking again? Depending on the day any of those are good answers. For me, spring means knocking the mud off of my trail running shoes and hoping we avoid rain long enough for trail systems to dry out and maybe sneak in a camping trip or two.
Getting ready to enjoy the warmer spring temperatures also means getting your gear ready and respecting the environment’s we’ll be going out into. Time for a spring camping trip? One of the first thing’s you should check is your rain-proofing on all of your equipment. On most tents it is a good idea to reseal the seams at least once a year and there’s no better time than spring to get this knocked out. You can find a kit to get this done at just about any outdoor gear shop or on Amazon with plenty of instructional videos floating around the internet (like the Teton Quick Tip) on exactly this. You’ll want to do this in a dry environment and make sure you leave it assembled for at least twenty-four hours before packing up again.
As the weather starts to turn for the warmer, it’s important to freshen up on your proper trail etiquette. An often-over-looked aspect of trail etiquette is when to actually stay off of the trail. I’m right there with you, sometimes it’s great to prove to yourself that you can do hard things, and that includes going out in miserable conditions, but that can ruin trail systems. On days when there is heavy, sticking mud, do not go out on the trail. This is how deep, wide ruts are created in trails that ruin them for other trail-goers when the trails are dried out. On really muddy days, stick to the indoor climbing gym or treadmill with a bit on incline – everyone will be glad you did.
Alright, you’ve got your tent waterproofed and ready to go, you know the days to stay of the trails for the benefit of everyone and know you’re getting excited to get those legs back in hiking/running shape to knock out this year’s goals whether they’re races, backpacking trips, or just a hike out your front door. Now, remember that the fastest way to hurt yourself is to go too big too fast, take it from someone who knows. We’re all excited for warmer weather, even if you are a devout 100+ day a year skier, it’s just a part of being human. We’re remembering how good it felt to spend long periods of time just being on the trail or how rewarding it was to set up camp after a long trek into the mountains and we want to recapture that as soon as possible. The best thing you can do is start small and go easier than you think you need to for the first few outdoor hiking/training sessions of the year and give your body a chance to readjust to the beating it takes and remember how those muscles work. Remember that getting outdoors is like running a marathon, not a sprint.
With that you’re set to get out and enjoy the best time of the year: Multi-sport March (and April). Here’s to a few more good powder turns and a lot more time on the trails. See you all out there.
About the Author: David Ball
David considers himself the ambassador of the “Radically Mediocre” lifestyle. He defines this as being able to “hang with people doing just about anything and not slow them down.” You can find him trying to get people to talk to him about the book he just read in coffee shops, or in the western U.S. getting pumped out on scary trad leads (and follows), skydiving, split-boarding and trail running in his home mountain range, the Wasatch, with his dog Margo. Follow him on instagram at @DavidDenverBall.