6 safety tips for hiking in the Fraser Valley this Spring

Dec 19 2017, 8:51 pm

Whether you’re an avid or casual hiker, there is no reason to let a little rain keep you from making your way up the mountains this spring. However, your day trip will still require a little bit of preparation. 

The Fraser Valley is a beautiful pocket of the Pacific Northwest, hugged by snowy mountaintops and river valleys. From Hope to Surrey, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure, be it trekking Elk Mountain, exploring Jones Lake, or finding trails along the Chilliwack River.

Sam Waddington, owner of Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors shop in Chilliwack, and longtime traveler and tour guide, has some tips for getting out there during the “off season.”

He made it his career to help others fall in love with Chilliwack and wanted Waddington’s to not just be a store but a place that allowed people the opportunity to experience their backyard to it’s fullest potential. Waddington’s now offers rentals, tutorials, courses and guiding tours for everything from winter hiking to summer kayaking.

He emphasizes the importance of preparation, especially in the Fraser Valley where there is an array of low and high elevations to explore. He believes that hikers should not be scared by new trails or changing weather but really understand what they are getting themselves into. His motto? There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.

Here are Waddington’s 6 top tips for getting outdoors this season:

1. Figure out where and what it is you want to experience

Do you want a good view? Do you want a steep climb? By understanding what kind of adventure you want, you can match up the trail or type of adventure you hope to experience.

2. Tell someone where you are going

Trail conditions and the amount of precipitation can be unpredictable especially with changing seasons. It’s important to have a safety net when dealing with the outdoors.

3. Wear proper clothing

Waddington tells all of his customers to avoid cotton at every layer. Whether it’s your own sweat or falling in a snow bank – you don’t want cotton getting wet because it will chill you way down. Not only is this uncomfortable but it’s not wise in the colder months. Try to stick to wool or synthetic materials that will not soak up water.

4. Bring extra your food

Waddington suggests throwing an extra chocolate bar or apple in your pack that you don’t plan on eating. He suggests 1/2L—1L of water for every hour that you are out, plus some extra just in case.

5. Stick to the trail (and a flashlight)

Wandering into no-man’s-land will likely get you lost. Stick to what you know, especially if you are not yet comfortable with the activity or location. If you do wander from the trail, finding your way back can be difficult in the dark, so have a headlamp or flashlight with you at all times.

6. Ask for advice

Waddington’s hope is that everyone has the best experience possible. He encourages anyone to come talk to employees at the store about their plans. They know the area best and can offer guidance on trail conditions or necessary supplies.

Colleen Little is a freelance writer and editor in Vancouver, BC. Follow her on Instagram @cocoolittle

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