Spring in Central Oregon
In Central Oregon, we are just waiting for that first sign of spring which practically begs us to get outside and hit the trail again. As everything turns green, wildflowers peek their colorful faces up to the sun, and the swallows return, spring can be one of the most exciting times to explore our State Parks. Regardless of your outdoor experience level before hitting the trails, paddling the river or finding the perfect camp spot, it is always a good idea to check your gear and remember safety should be your first priority so that your adventure is a positive experience.
Spring weather is in Central Oregon is unpredictable. The day may start clear and sunny and before you know it, snow is falling. Be sure to pack extra layers of clothing, including socks. In a word, spring hiking is wet. Snow is melting and rain is often falling. Be wary of wet surfaces and muddy roads. Speaking of wet, remember the old adage, “cotton kills.” While it’s great to have a cotton t-shirt or sweatshirt to slip on after the hike, wet cotton clothes rob the body of heat and take a long time to dry out. Be sure to wear synthetic clothes appropriate for the sport and conditions you’re experiencing.
If you’re a paddler, don’t forget that if the air temperature and water temperature aren’t more than 100 when added together, hypothermia is a real concern if you get wet. Probably best to wait for a sunny day, or at the least, be sure to bring some dry clothes in your dry bag should you go for an accidental swim.
Your joints, muscles and lungs may have been hibernating over the winter. Don’t start out on a 20 mile trail run if you haven’t been running in months. Be sure to warm up slowly and stretch when you’re done. This goes for hiking, paddling, biking, or any other sport. Work up to longer outings so you don’t injure yourself and miss the rest of the summer.
Remember the last time you went camping? Last summer when it rained the morning you broke camp, the kids wanted to see the last Junior Ranger Program, your dog was running around the campsite and you discovered a hole in your air mattress? Well, if you’re like most of us, the tent likely reeks of mildew and the air mattress is still punctured. Plan a weekend to check your outdoor gear. Be sure to clean and fix all of your gear before you go out. If you camp in a trailer or RV it’s time to de-winterize, stock up and fill up the propane tanks. Make a list so that you can restock if necessary – and don’t forget the S’mores! If you’re bringing kids or a newbie, this is especially important.
Speaking of kids and newbies, start out easy… Maybe the three night backpack you’ve been dreaming of all winter isn’t the best early season trip. Start with something easier and adopt a positive attitude. Remember, you want this person to like camping, hiking, paddling, trail running, or whatever. If you haven’t camped before and want to get some good advice, Let’s Go Camping at the Cove Palisades State Park is a great way to start. We provide everything you need and show you how to use it. This year’s program is scheduled for the last weekend in June. For more information contact Jill Nishball, Visitor Experience Coordinator, at 541-388-6073.
To make spring and summer reservations at your favorite Oregon State Park go to http://www.oregonstateparks.org