The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

March 23, 2013

Fickle weather can wreck plans

BECKLEY — Well, it’s officially spring. We have “sprung forward” into daylight saving time in hopes of long, sunny evenings to play and work outdoors in the glorious, warm rays of the sun. In return for our daily routines being altered by the time change, we are awarded with unpredictable weather and mud season — gee, thanks!

Unpredictable weather (well, anything unpredictable, for that matter) can cause a little stress in one’s life. For example, say next Friday’s forecast calls for blue-bird skies, a light breeze out of the south and temperatures in the long-sleeve T-shirt category — in other words, a perfect day to go fishing.

So, you call up a few of your buddies and a plan is devised as to the location of the meet-up. A day’s vacation from work is taken.

Since it’s the first outing of the year, your planning involves getting gear out of hibernation. Hibernating gear can be tricky. The rod, creel and net you left hanging in the basement next to the Christmas lights last fall is now conveniently tucked in the shadowy corner, and only after three rounds of hide-and-go-seek will its presence grace you.

In your hour-long search, you find your waders and in doing so notice the hole in the knee you were planning on patching during the cold, dark evenings of winter. But like all optimistic sportsmen facing the year’s first outing, you trudge on.

By midweek, the weather for Friday is appearing a little different. Now the forecast is looking a little less perfect and a little more like maybe a jacket might be required. Again, you trudge on, and with pure cheerfulness you secure the bait. Since it is the first outing, you pick up some new waders and a jug of the latest trout-enticing goo bait.

By Thursday evening, The Weather Channel is calling for gusty winds out of the north and a stalling cold front is going to drop an inch of rain, making the creeks you daydreamed of all week at work become swollen and muddy. Thursday, after dinner, you make the call.

“Supposed to rain all day and be cold tomorrow,” you tell your friend on the phone in a monotone voice. “Should we try it anyhow?” replies your friend, not wanting to admit the first-outing-of-the-year setback. You both decide to check the weather one last time and make the decision to call at daylight.

When the sun fails to shine, you end up spending the rainy day cleaning up the mess you made in the basement trying to find your gear, much to the happiness of the one who shares the house with you.

The great news about mud season is it doesn’t hold its slimy grip on us for long. Yeah, it’s annoying at first, but rest assured that full-blown spring is near and soon we can go forth and be merry afield with green grass beneath our feet and the sun’s warmth on our shoulders. Until then, keep up the good fight and take each pleasant day during mud season as a gift — a bonus day to be outdoors.

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