Foggy mornings in the mountains, blooming flowers through our forests, and creeks flowing from snowmelt — spring is undeniably beautiful in West Virginia! In this season of new beginnings, our flora and fauna aren’t the only things changing. The weather during these months tends to swing back and forth between balmy and brisk. Sunny days may be followed by a week of rainy weather, or sometimes drastic temperature changes can occur within the same day.
While experiencing all four seasons in one trip may sound like an exciting adventure, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Here are some packing tips to make sure you are equipped for any surprises the Mercer County climate may throw at you.
With all the talk about the temperamental weather, packing the right clothes for your trip may seem a little tricky. Since most days start and end on a chilly note, but can include a midday heatwave, it is best to pack in layers. As the weather changes, you can shed or add throughout the day. Besides your necessities like undergarments, we suggest you bring lightweight and quick-drying clothes that can easily be layered. This includes short-sleeved shirts, light long-sleeve tops or cardigans, a thick sweatshirt or sweater, a jacket and a few pairs of pants. Throw in some breathable socks and a pair of sunglasses, and you are set.
The saying, “April showers bring May flowers” holds true here! Expect anything from a light drizzle to a quick downpour in the early spring months. Since you can still partake in many Mercer County activities in the rain, make sure to pack a durable rain jacket and umbrella to keep you dry. Bringing a simple plastic poncho will definitely keep you protected from the elements, but we suggest a lightweight jacket if you plan on spending the day out on the hiking trails. If you prefer to stay out of the rain completely, we have plenty of indoor entertainment to do while you wait for a break in the clouds.
Some of the best springtime activities in Mercer County include waterfall and wildflower hiking tours. Spring rain and snowmelt help our local waterfalls flow and the wildflowers grow. Pack hiking boots that are durable and comfortable for your trek. Since the trails are likely to be muddy from the rain, hiking boots are much better than regular sneakers. Traditional, heavy high-top hiking boots are great at keeping mud and water out. Low-top trail shoes have the comfort of sneakers but the traction of hiking boots which makes them perfect for long days spent in the woods. Regardless of your preference, you’ll definitely need a pair if you plan on seeing some spring scenery.
Sunscreen is always a necessity, but especially during the unpredictable springtime! By midday, the sun may be scorching or even hiding behind clouds. Water reflects the damaging rays, meaning your skin gets a double hit of UV if you are fishing or admiring a waterfall. Also, while in the mountains you are at higher altitudes, which means more intense sunlight. For every 1,000 feet you gain in elevation, the sun’s rays are about 10 to 15 percent stronger. What we’re trying to say is this: summer sunscreen rules apply in the spring, too!
Bonus Tip: Map
Over the last decade, GPS has become a navigational game-changer, but when traveling to some spots here in Mercer County we recommend you have a trusty paper road map on hand, just in case! In the absence of a cell signal, smartphone GPS won’t do you much good as it needs a cell signal to download real-time mapping and navigational data. Plus, a paper map can show you all the scenic routes including back roads and old highways you may want to explore!
The pleasant scenery, in addition to fewer crowds, makes spring the ideal time to travel, as long as you are prepared! Find some springtime inspiration to add to your upcoming trip and start packing now.
This post was last updated on March 29, 2021