As the winter season begins to wind down, we will soon enter into Vermont's fifth season; Mud Season. At first glance, you might think this is a joke, but it's true... Vermont has its very own fifth season when the ground thaws, the snow melts, and our snowy landscapes turn into a squishy, muddy mess. Mud Season is not the most beloved of the seasons, but it's one that if you prepare and embrace, it'll fly by! Here are the top five things you should know about this time of year.
It's Only a Six-Week Period:
While some years it feels like it drags on, Mud Season typically only last six weeks. The start date fluctuates depending on the weather, but as soon as the nighttime temperatures rise above freezing, the snow will begin to melt rapidly. This year, our snowpack is quite deep thanks to the March snowfall, which means Mud Season will likely start mid-April. As the temperatures continue to rise into the Spring, the ground will slowly dry out as the season wraps up by Memorial Day at the end of May.
Invest in a Good Pair of Boots:
Your winter snow boots and ankle boots will not cut it! You'll want to invest in the famous Vermont muck boot or a tall rainboot. The mud can often be deep in areas that have high traffic such as dirt roads and walking paths. A taller boot will help you pull your foot out of the suction if you get stuck. When you live in Vermont, it's a right of passage to have at least 5 different types of boots: ski boot, snow boot, mud boot, casual boot, and hiking boot.
Be Aware of Dirt Roads:
You won't find much dirt on paved roads, but you'll get a load of it on any given dirt road in Vermont. Watch out for the roads that don't have sufficient run-off as those will likely be the muddiest. Roads around the lake area also tend to be wetter than others. The weight of the vehicles often creates deep divots in the road, making them quite an exciting yet slow ride. It might be worth it to keep your snow tires on longer than you'd think as they can help get through deep mud. There could also be a possibility for icing if the temperature dips during the night, so keep that in mind while driving, especially if you've switched to your summer set.
Green Grass is Coming:
While it may seem unimaginable for the drab fields and yards to come back to life, green grass is on its way thanks to Mud Season. The thawing ground means that the moisture trickles down and provides nourishment to the fields and forest floor below. As the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, it penetrates the earth and invites new life to begin to grow. By the end of May, your yard will go from dirty snow to flourishing green nature!
Getting Adventurous During Mud Season:
As ski season ends, we are often left with a desire to get back to our summer activities such as hiking, biking, and exploring walking paths. However, Mud Season is often disappointing to many adventurers because trail maintainers dreadfully have to instruct you to avoid the wet trails as it damages them. Because the ground can only hold so much water, wide mud puddles often appear and can take up the entire trail, which can cause soil compaction. This high-density soil cannot drain as easily over time and degrades the quality of the trail. Also, attempting to walk around puddles can damage the vegetation on the sides of the trails. In short, try to avoid wet trails for a few weeks this spring and then explore them come June. In the meantime, there are plenty of paved areas to explore in the beautiful hills of Vermont.