As we start to brush off the last signs of winter, we look forward to all that spring has to offer. The buds on the trees appear, the fresh spring air lingers, and the longer days with hours of daylight sunshine invigorate the soul. We find ourselves anxious to get out on the trail for my first hike of the season. We poke through our hiking guides to look for some new adventures. We're itching to get out there; but must heed the advice of those who are responsible for maintaining trails. They may ask that we stay off certain trails until the ground has time to dry and repair itself from a the harsh effects of winter. AMC: Spring Hiking Requires Use of Care for Trails’ Sake When I first began hiking, it never occurred to me that I needed to allow time for this transition to occur. I headed out to the trail on my first spring hike as soon as the temperatures started to warm and the weather was getting nicer. I began trekking up the mountain creating a muddy mess to the existing trail. I would go off the trail to avoid puddles while stepping on the emerging vegetation that was starting to sprout. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I am incurring irreparable damages. I and my fellow hikers were changing the landscape of nature. Since that hike, I am more aware of the tolls spring hiking and mountain biking can take venturing out too soon. Muddy Conditions Can Damage Trails Each spring, I visit trail hiking websites Appalachian Mountain Club, Green Mountain Club, to review the trail conditions and official trail openings. I realize that it so important that we forego our instinct to head out and respect and honor nature giving it time for rebirth and growth. We all benefit in the end. Take it easy this spring and take to urban and paved trails to get ready for the season. Learn more about how you can respect nature by visiting the Leave No Trace website.