Mud season in the Rockies is not often publicized by the Chamber of Commerce. Which is perhaps why it's one of my favorite times of year. The town has cleared out of skiers, Frozen Dead Guy Day revellers and snowshoers, and the traffic of summer – the Harley's, the hikers, the mountain bikers, the road construction crews – have not yet arrived. Nederland has become, at least for a few weeks, a town for the locals.
It doesn't really feel like spring, at least in the traditional, "tulips are blooming," type way. It's snowed everyday for the past week, and the weather forecast for next week looks the same. While in Boulder the flowers are blooming and people are going to work in shorts, here in the mountains nothing is blooming and I'm still wearing long johns everyday.
It's a little tough to figure out my daily exercise this time of year. I'm still skiing, but truth be told it's getting a little iffy. There is this breakable crust that is not the most pleasant thing to ski, and the inch or two of snow we've been getting on top of it hides more than it helps. The high peaks are still difficult to access as the dirt roads that get you closer to them are buried in snow. And the trails for mountain biking and hiking are still covered with a foot deep layer of ice. It seems winter and summer are fighting a war right now, and at least today, it's a dead stand-off.
Of course, summer will win the eventual battle in the upcoming weeks. I have learned that once it goes, it goes quickly. Things melt out, the rivers rise, the pine trees give off the marvelous odor of spring and the trails are opened. I'm looking forward to it. Elaine's bike is just about ready to roll, and it's with much anticipation that I look forward to teaching her the sport. And then on the days off, up early to ski the big peaks, boot-packing up and skiing the sweet corn down.
For now though, that must wait. For it is mud season, the deep breathe between the glory times. There is a beauty and a relaxation to this time where, finally, the hills are left to the people who dwell here.