What You Need To Know For Hiking During Spring Mud Season | WIVT
ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – As spring begins in the Adirondacks, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is warning visitors of mud season. When the snow starts to melt on the trails, mud and monorails can make hiking conditions difficult.
Monorails are thin strips of compacted snow and ice down the center of the trails. They are surrounded by little or no snow on the sides. The DEC said to walk straight into the mud on the trails rather than around it to help stop trail widening and damage to vegetation.
Some roads and vehicle access gates were temporarily closed due to mud. According to the DEC, vehicles damage roads during mud season. Roads will reopen once maintenance is complete and roads will be dry enough to accommodate vehicles.
In the Lake George Wilderness, Jabe Pond Road, Lily Pond Road, and Dacy Clearing Road in Shelving Rock are all closed to vehicular traffic due to mud. The DEC also closed access roads and gates in Lewis, Jefferson and Northern Herkimer counties.
Snowmobile trails have been closed in some areas due to lack of snow. Some seasonal access roads are still open for snowmobiling only. When driveways are open, DEC recommends the use of four-wheel drive vehicles.
There are several places to mountain bike in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Since trails are susceptible to erosion and widening of trails, the DEC asks riders to try to avoid muddy, wet, or icy trails. When you encounter patches of mud or ice, cross the center of the trail to avoid damaging plants along the trail.
There is still snow in some places, especially in the High Peaks Wilderness. The DEC said they are prepared for snow, ice and mud by wearing or bringing warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, snowshoes, microspikes, crampons and gaiters. Gaiters are garments worn over the ankle and lower leg to protect against snow and mud.
Snowshoes or skis must be carried in snow more than eight inches. The DEC reminds hikers that conditions change with elevation gain and that cold, wet weather poses a risk of hypothermia. There is also currently an avalanche hazard in the Adirondacks.
Streams, ponds, lakes and other bodies of water can also pose risks when hiking in the spring. The DEC said melting snow and rain can make stream crossings difficult. Hikers should avoid stream crossings in high and fast flowing water. Hikers should also not walk on icy water. As the temperature begins to rise, the ice may break.
10 hiking essentials
The DEC suggests that you take them with you on all your hikes:
- Navigation: map, compass, GPS system, extra batteries
- Clothing: Waterproof/windproof jacket, hat, thermal underwear, woolen socks
- Light: headlamp, flashlight, lanterns, extra batteries
- First aid supplies: use a pre-made kit or build your own
- Emergency kit: whistle, signal mirror, tape, pocket knife, brightly colored cloth
- Fire: Matches in a waterproof container, lighter, fire starter
- Food: Items high in protein and calories, carry extra foods
- Water: carry at least two liters per person, water filtration or purification system, carry more than you think you will need
- Protection against the sun and insects: sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, mosquito net
- Emergency shelter: Tent, blanket, tarp
If you ever get lost, injured, stay calm and don’t panic. In case of an emergency, the DEC said to make sure these phone numbers are saved in your phone:
- DEC Emergency Dispatch: (518) 408-5850
- In the Adirondacks: (518) 891-0235
- New York State Ranger Dispatch Phone Number: 833-NYS-RANGERS
If you cannot access these numbers, you can always call 911.