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Spring hiking means wet conditions, streams and brooks to cross, and using your trekking poles and wearing your gaiters. But don’t forget about snow...Franey is one of your classic hikes in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park – incredible views on top and a nice aerobic workout.

It was around the 4th hill that I noticed more snow as hiked to the top of the mountain. The 5th hill had snow as well.  While at the top I took a few pictures of the Clyburn Valley showing there was snow on the mountains. Going down Franey you take an old fire road and this is where I really notice snow. Some places were 3-5 ft deep but I was lucky it was packed and I didn’t sink. The snow stayed close to halfway down the mountain and then there was ponds and streams to get around. Franey is one of three peaks hikers will complete in the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge on July 16th.

Below are some more pictures of my Franey hike in early May

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Getting an early start to hiking season is what most hikers want but it forces us to hike in wet spring like conditions and in snow sometimes. Here are some tips to start the season off early:

1)  Crossing streams – With melting snow and milder conditions, streams are higher this time of the year and  more of them.  Tips –  a) wear gaiters – gore-tex are the best, waterproof hiking boots (gore-tex) , wool socks – plus take an extra pair. b) Use poles to cross streams & walk softly on rocks.  I learned how important poles were in Scotland hiking the West Highland Way and crossing so many streams, c) Make sure your hip belt and chest straps are on to avoid your daypack to sway.  d) Double bag your camera gear with dry bags or ziplock bags.

A stream on Red Island Hiking Trail

2) Hiking in snow on trails – Tips – a) hike with gaiters on, waterproof hiking boots and wool socks. b) take your trekking poles and use them. Don’t forget your baskets….

3) Take an extra jacket –  Important to dress in layers this time of the year. It is colder and you do not want to get chills.  Make sure you have a base layer, mid-layer and jacket  a) wear your jacket when you stop for snacks, lunch and water breaks…. you do not want to get cold…take short breaks and keep moving.

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