The spring season is bringing a big increase in foot traffic to the backcountry, according to staff with the national forest. 

They say the recent rescue of two hikers in the Enchantments is an example of people being too eager and even impatient to get into the woods.  

Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest spokesperson Robin Demario says many forest visitors aren't prepared for early spring conditions. 

"Some people don't recognize that there's so much snow still in the backcountry,” said DeMario. 

The hikers in the Enchantments only completed half their trip before they were rescued by a helicopter. Chelan County Sheriff’s Deputies who assisted with the rescue noted they were sinking in the snow while approaching the hikers on foot. 

Trails in the forest are also likely to be wet, with springtime runoff of the snow now starting. 

DeMario says there are ways to gauge if a trail is too wet to use. 

“If you’re on a bike and your tires leave ruts in the trail as you go by, or your shoes sink down into the squishy mud, or there is standing water over much of the trail, that indicates that things are just too wet right now,” DeMario said. 

Hikers are being asked to consider using dirt roads until trails dry out and firm up in the national forest. 

Carrying proper gear is also recommended to be able to get through current conditions. In addition, the forest service is advising visitors to check the avalanche forecast before leaving home. 

DeMario is recommending these local trails near Leavenworth for hiking at this early stage of the spring – icicle Ridge, Pipeline, and the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery trail. 

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