Summer arrived right on time and the crowds that are beginning to flow to the mountains are ample proof that it’s summer vacation time.
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The campgrounds are open, excluding Wrights Lake. The campground hosts have been busy making everything ready in the developed areas up in the Crystal Basin, Lake Tahoe, and over on Highway 88.
There is plenty of room right now for early birds to grab a spot and kick back for a few days.
The high country is in perfect condition for some nice hikes. Though there’s still patches of snow, in general it won’t stop your hike as long as you stay under about 9,000 feet. Remember that the snow you encounter on the higher trails has been melting and the water has been flowing underneath what you see.
Now that the hiking and camping spirits have called out to everyone, it’s time for a short refresher on what to take with you, which of course, depends on the hike that you are tackling.
For a short walk/hike to well-known spot not far from the trail head, perhaps somewhere like Eagle Falls, or to the waterfall on Park Creek at Sly Park, you don’t need much. Take enough water to get you there and back, and a snack.
For anything else, here are some essentials you always need to take with you when you head out into the forest, even on well-known trails.
There are many definitions of hiking and camping. Walking about in your campground area is different from heading out into the forest; wilderness camping is radically different from setting up in a developed campground.
For most hikes outside your campground, check the weather forecast and if needed take rain gear, hat, gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit and sunglasses.
Dress in layers. Leave your cotton home. Wear synthetics and always have a jacket.
Pack a working flashlight, map. compass, small knife and wear your watch.
Hike with a buddy or two. and let someone know where you are going and when you should be back.
Remember your camera and if you know how to use a GPS unit, bring it but pay close attention to the trail you are on.
If you have children with you always have them in your sight. Always be with them around any body of water.
The whole idea is for you and yours to have a wildly successful hiking or camping experience.
May the forest be with you. Get outside!