October Hiking

posted Sep 23, 2014, 8:44 AM by Paul Wagner
We've had quite a few requests for destinations for a late season hike in the Sierra this year.  October can be a wonderful time for hiking in the Sierra, but there are also a few things to keep in mind:

1.  October can be cold.  Sure, it can snow in July at higher elevations, but it is much more likely in October.  It will almost certainly freeze at night, and possibly be much colder.  We always suggest making sure that you are well-equipped for cold...and that you have an escape route in case bad weather comes rolling in.
2.  Don't assume that a little snow never hurt anyone.  Snow doesn't have to be really deep to cause problems.  If it is deep enough to cover the trail you will have to navigate yourself back to the trailhead using map, compass, or GPS.  If you don't know how to do that, we'll probably find you in the spring thaw....
2.  Nights come earlier in October--and that means you are going to spend more time in your sleeping bag, keeping warm, and less time sitting around and chatting with your friends, or fishing...

You'll notice that we didn't say anything about sitting around the campfire.  With the damage from the Rim Fire last year and the King Fire this year, many of our favorite destinations for lower elevation hikes (which are great options early or late in the season) are closed.  And those areas will take years to recover.  It is very sad. 

The next time you go hiking, ask yourself if you really need a fire...and if you are prepared to put it out completely before you get in your tent.  We know far too many people who enjoy a fire, get ready for bed, and leave the coals glowing under a blanket of ash.

After all, what could happen?