Warm weather beacons the outdoor-minded

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Dennis Clay

My, my do I dare believe my eyes? Just checked the 10-day weather forecast for Moses Lake and found what could be considered fair weather for this time of year.

The daytime highs are in the 40s, with the lows in the high 20s to the low 30s. One low is listed at 37 degrees.

Would not bother me a bit if we continue in this direction. No more snow at the Ephrata, Quincy, Moses Lake, Royal City, Othello level. Rain would be welcomed here, but snow should stay in the mountains for the skiers and snowboarders.

We need the moisture, for sure, but we don’t need 18-inches of snow in Moses Lake or Ephrata. There are four days in the 10-day weather forecast showing snow, but those days has the snow disappearing fast, with highs in the 40 the next day.

The weather situation was discussed last week, with this columnist talking about how an outdoor-minded person could use her/his time inside when confronted with undesirable cold weather. These activities can certainly be achieved, but 40 degrees and nearly 50 degrees, has me wanting to get outside to prepare for spring.

“I’m going home and changing the oil in my lawnmower,” a friend joked last week during lunch.

Everyone at the table laughed, with the idea winter was over. Still, looking at the temperatures, makes one wonder. Wouldn’t bother me one bit to spend time in the yard conducting springtime-type cleaning, with mid-to-high 40s temperatures. Perhaps the lawnmower could be used to clean the yard of stray leaves and other debris.

Will we have a cold wave of temperatures in the 20s and teens, with a lack of moisture? Who knows at this point. A friend was concerned about our lack of snow and rain, voicing the fact we will be hurting during the rest of the year without more moisture.

Indeed, we need moisture, but I’m thinking we don’t need snow. Yes, there are certain crops needing snow as insulation, in case we have temperatures dipping into the teens and lower. Still, rain, at a pace not causing a flood or erosion, will certainly be welcomed as an alternative.

The mild weather has me rethinking my strategy for the following couple of months. Instead of spending more time inside, Garnet and I may participate in more day-trips. Perhaps we will take the Hideout travel trailer to Potholes State Park and spend a few nights on the first camping trip of the year.

We wouldn’t need to empty the antifreeze from the trailer, but put drinking water in a 5-gallon container for use at the campsite. Using the available bathroom at the park would also be necessary. Days with high 30s and low 40-degree temperatures are certainly acceptable for a camping experience in our trailer.

Perhaps we will head to Steamboat Rock State Park to view the deer and eagles. Day trips to lower Grant County is also a possibility, making a loop through Royal City and through the area where Crab Creek heads west and heads toward the Columbia River.

We may even take an overnight trip toward the Colville area, without the trailer. This would also be considered a wildlife-viewing trip, looking for deer, turkey and other critters.

Looking fondly at the fishing rod is common when temperatures head to the high 40s and near the 50-degree mark. Some anglers can be found huddled around a fire pit of some sort along the edge of Potholes Reservoir and other Columbia Basin Lakes in the early spring.

I’ve seen groups of five to seven people along the shore of a lake with a steel stove, such as used in a wall tent, to stay warm and cook some food. Think of a cool day with temps near 50 and the sun shining.

A group of five to 10 friends gather at Medicare Beach for an afternoon of fishing and visiting. The rods are in the water and a skillet of venison hash has been cooked and is staying warm on top of the stove. A pot of elk chili is also on the stove, hot and ready to eat.

There is usually plenty to eat during an outing such as this. Some would say there is too much to eat, but the leftovers are not wasted. If the food has been carefully monitored, as to the food safety rules, all can be frozen and used for the next outing. After all, a fun time at the old fishin’ hole may find the anglers anxious to follow the first outing with a second and a third.

Fishing isn’t the only outdoor activity for early spring. Reloading rifle and shotgun rounds are also fair game in early spring. When the weather is in the high 40s and 50s, I’m more inclined to head to the range and work up various loads with the .270, .30-06 and .243. Taking the .22 along will allow some fun plinking.

Yes, the warmish weather is welcomed by this outdoor-minded person. Take advantage of the warm days.

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