After our extremely snow-ridden winter most folks are excited to get outdoors and start enjoying the warmer weather.

Whether you're just headed toward Rimrock to see some elk or hit a trailhead, remember this is the Pacific Northwest and that means drastic weather changes and water-soaked hillsides.

This comes to mind as word comes in this week the water access site on Hog Canyon Lake was cut off by a washout, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Spokane County.

You can still fish there, but you'll be hiking in on foot. Which is the whole point of getting outdoors in the first place.

If you're brave enough to go camping or just head up a dirt road in the spring, when the weather and wind can be unpredictable, make sure to follow a few guidelines.

  1. Check the weather forecast. May seem basic, but a warm sun at lunchtime can fool you into complacency when you try to sneak a quick trail run at 5:00pm. If you'd checked the forecast, you would have seen the wind and rain expected that hour. 75 degrees can turn into 55 and wet really quickly.
  2. Take a chainsaw. Well, if you're headed up dirt roads in tall pine. I once checked into a hotel and dropped off all my food and supplies before a quick trip up the mountain for smores. A front knocked a tree over the one-lane mountain road and I was stuck hiking in several inches of snow the next morning wearing nothing but my shorts and a t-shirt. And that was just to find someone that had actually remembered their chainsaw.
  3. Avoid the edge of the road. Yes, roads are meant for two rigs but during a lot of rain the edge can fall away in a flash. I crap my pants just looking at the tracks some lucky bastards leave behind during the rainy season.
  4. Pay attention to your surroundings. Mother nature loves to prove the local weatherman wrong. If you see rain coming and you drove 10 mph up a winding and mushy road to get to your trailhead, turn around and get back down the mountain before you spend a week out of cell range hoping for a ranger on their rounds.
  5. Take extra water and food. Pretty basic, but day trips lead to complacency.

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