We’re all itching to get back on dirt, but don’t let your enthusiasm override your ethics. I found some dry trail sections on Saturday, but it was tricky. My gauge for early season hiking and mountain biking is a 90/10 rule. If 90 percent of the trail is dry and 10 percent is marginal, I will ride or hike. By marginal I mean if it’s not a complete mud bog, just a little soft, and I can see it’s a small area that I can go through or avoid on the edge of the trail (not off the trail tread). But if I can clearly see a long, muddy stretch ahead of me, I turn around and go back. Assuming that muddy stretch is an isolated one is usually a mistake, and after you pass through it, you’re going to have to pass through it again coming back.
One of the best ways to find out which trails are useable is to “like” the Ridge to Rivers Facebook page. Ridge to Rivers offers daily trails updates. And don’t forget the Greenbelt. It’s pretty nice this time of year, and you don’t have to worry about mud.