Hunting season is still a ways off, and you don’t feel much like fishing, so now is a great time to take a hike. Grant County has lots of hiking opportunities for everyone from the casual stroller to the extreme sports nut.

Looking for a casual evening stroll? The Prospector Trail runs along the river behind the fairgrounds and is relatively flat. One step up in difficulty is the dirt bike track north of the Seventh Street Complex. The trails to Strawberry Lake or Aldrich ponds are both a little under 1.5 miles long and well maintained, plus you can do some fishing when you get there. The Strawberry trail is a little steeper, but not bad. All of the national parks in the area, like the Fossil Beds, have well-maintained trails to check out.

If you really want to get out into nature, stop by one of the hardware stores or the Forest Service office and pick up a map of the area you are interested in. They will show you the trails that are available. If you are looking for an amazing view, I suggest the top of Strawberry Mountain. The trail from Strawberry Campground is in good shape, but plan for a seven-plus hour hike depending on the kind of shape you are in. The lazy man’s way is to go from Road’s End on the south side of the mountain. The trail isn’t too bad until you start the final climb to the top.

A word of caution on our trail systems. The farther from the road you get, the worse shape the trail may be in — sometimes disappearing altogether. A good GPS or map and compass with the knowledge of how to use them is a good idea. Also, in the areas recently affected by fires, you are going to experience a lot of blowdowns that you will have to crawl over, under or around.

Wherever you choose to go, use some common sense in your preparation. Make sure to tell someone where you are going. I know, you are a big boy and can take care of yourself. But from personal experience, I can tell you that “crap happens” even to big boys. Be sure to take along some food and water plus a little extra just to be safe. Don’t forget bug spray for the flies, mosquitoes and ticks. Weather can change pretty fast so a weatherproof jacket is a good idea. I like to carry a cheap plastic rain poncho. Of course, you never go anywhere without a knife and fire starter. That would just be stupid. Sunscreen! Don’t forget the sunscreen. Those UV rays can be pretty intense on top of our mountains. And last, but maybe most important, the trailheads may or may not have bathroom facilities. Always, always remember to pack some TP.

We have some amazing country around us here in Grant County. I hope you take some time this summer and get out and enjoy it.

Have a favorite hike you would like to tell us about? Drop us a line at shootingthebreezebme@gmail.com.

Rod Carpenter is a husband, father and hunting fool.

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