Spring storms leave plenty of mud

It’s been a pretty wet winter. Now that most of the snow is gone, it’s time to get outside, right? Well, maybe, but there’s still a lot of mud to contend with.

It’s simple science. When snow melts, it turns to water. When water soaks into dirt, it turns to mud. But usually, that mud lasts a short time, and then it becomes dirt again.

So why is there still so much standing water on your favorite forest road leading to a great fishing hole? Again, it’s simple science. We’ve finally had a traditional winter, in the sense that it’s been cold and snowy. Those cold temperatures have created a nice, solid frost line about a foot below the surface of the ground. The snowpack has kept it insulated, so it hasn’t warmed up, but as that snow melted, the water didn’t have anywhere to go. That leaves puddles all over the surface. Or in some places, those puddles are more like ponds, or even small lakes.

We have one of those ponds right smack in the middle of our driveway right now. If it weren’t for that frost line, which is bound to recede at some point, I’d seriously consider stocking it with fish. But my would-be fishing spot probably won’t last long. While that’s bad news for my hopes of finding a place to go fishing closer to home, it’s good news for actually being able to get TO my house. Or to one of those fishing spots way up a forest road.

Some of those roads might be passable already, but others are still going to be socked in. If you really want to get through, be sure you have several ways of getting out if you get stuck – take along a shovel or two, and maybe even take a tow rope and a buddy with a separate truck to help pull you out if needed. But be aware that driving on those muddy roads will tear the roads up, and the Forest Service will close them if they get too bad. So stay off those extremely muddy roads. Walk in if you really want to get back there.