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What do I need to know about hiking in the northeast after decades in California desert mountains?

Hi there! I've hiked for decades in Southern California and the southwest, and I'm quite familiar with all the issues with desert and arid mountains. I've just moved back to the east coast and am living in central New Jersey. I need advice about how to prepare for and handle the issues that exist in northeastern landscapes that are different or more prevalent than in the desert southwest: rain, mud, streams/creeks, denser/higher vegetation, more ticks, and any other factors folks want to provide guidance for. I never really dealt with getting wet, either from above or from crossing water features. I never really dealt with much mud. Thanks for any insights you want to share!

4 Replies

@nymetro I'm originally from central NJ and moved West a bunch of years ago. A few things I can think of you that you may want to consider:

  • Waterproof footwear, and taking an extra pair of non-cotton socks in case your feet get wet
  • Waterproof breathable outer layers - always have these in your daypack
  • Quick-drying non-cotton clothing - and layers! (this may not be so different from what you're used to!)
  • Definitely bug repellent - mosquitos in the summer in NJ can be a nuisance
  • Trekking poles can be a big help with stream/river crossings

Curious what suggestions others have!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

tree tunnels....lots and lots of tree tunnels

ungraded trails, straight up/straight down, few to non existent switch backs

trails not constructed for pack animals, meaning lots and lots of sharp rocks/steep grades


REI Member Since 1979

The tree tunnels can be nice in the fall. And come wintertime the sky comes back into view. 

But, yeah... tree tunnels.

Other than that, I think JenK nailed it.

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When relocating, it is essential to deep clean your gear, including your car.  Plant seeds, insect egg, and other matter (fungal, viral, etc; vernal, diurnal, etc) can reside in places for long periods of time, and lay dormant.  Although we have, for instance, the Spaniards' mustard flower history here in the (South)West, a lot of people do not heed these visual experiential examples.  Biodiversity and a healthy ecology rely on absence of intrusion by domination. 
Cold & wet scares me, so i' m not best for that advice. I like nalgenes filled with hot hydrating beverage under my winter coat and holding my long-sleeve-shirt cuffs when putting on a jacket. Hands feet head should stay dry & warm. Maintaining nourishment and hydration. Typically, cotton is considered horrible fabric when water + cold is concerned. I imagine bamboo viscose/rayan is fair to cotton in hand and texture, less absorbant, is moistures wicking and microbial resistant.  Because it is derived from fibres and oils, there are still fire considerations.  The Expensive stuff that worms make dries fastest still.  Wools do have water repellant properties (my studies'details would just cause more confusion from me to you).

I don't doubt that there are social differences, especially in environmentally-sparked physiologically- induced edginess.  Remember to decrease your elevation if you have s/sx of altitude problems, also When you do that, checking barometric pressures with an altimeter can help you to have stronger self I environment awareness.  I actually would like to put emphasis on social interaction variances, for sheer fact that trail definition here has changed considerably.  Also note that trails tend to deviate after winter, and that blazes in certain environmental context are superior for underfoot diversity preservation in comparison to defined trails, in considerations and depending.

Ticks also are very different, with different lymes'.  And, they require different *assays* for testing!

  Also, border/port issues are different, with similar underlying themes. So, wr on drgs, trrism, ecobttles, endangered species migration-trade-etc, former wr enmy illegl entrances,etc. Remember to decrease your elevation if you have s/sx of altitude problems, also When you do that, checking barometric pressures with an altimeter can help.  

Black flies, and taking mold and mildew prevention/remediation measures is also essential.  So, cleaning/moving your belongings a lot helps.  Cold is more difficult on some electric device: Ziploc bags usually are not sound proof, but are waterproof. lining your satchel And covering it should ensure the contents stay dry. Speaking of which, a waterproof barrier, like nitrile or plastic gloves and, between liner (polypropylene) and shell (insulated) helps. Yes, there are medical supply foot barriers similar to plastic gloves, and grocery sacks and wading gators., and hair rain bonnets, shower caps and I am certain some jrks is building some business too.  I just hope they stop wrring patents cos I would like to be able to eat like a normal human someday.  

Vectors for vector borne illnesses are different, as is the meteorology and its produce.

Let me know if the sky's shade of blue is different!