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Mountain Standard Time

By Ann Driggers

 

After two great trips in the desert this spring, it's now time to turn our attention to the mountains. As the snow line receeds, the flowers follow, as do we. Over a month ago in the high desert of pinon and sagebrush where we live, the neon green meadows were carpeted with indian paintbrush and yellow balsamroot. Now they are replaced with sego lilies, waving in the breeze on their delicate stems. And this past week lupine has come into its own. Nothing seems to say "Summer is here!" more than the blue lupine. The rivers are running high and the rapids fun so of course we have been trying to get out as much as possible, especially with the long days, to soak it all in. At every opportunity before work, after work and at the weekends I'm out running, riding, and rafting. You could say I'm drunk on summer now.

The evening light especially has been gorgeous. We're lucky to have some nice trails in our neighborhood so I frequently jump on my bike as the sun is about to go down and catch the last of the evenings rays.

I've been so absorbed in the scenery that my runs seem to take twice as long as normal. You can see why:

My head is usually swivelling around doing so much rubbernecking I forget to look under my feet. On a trail run I was suddenly suprised by some very fresh bear tracks underfoot:

Unfortunately it has been very dry and fire season has started in earnest. Here I captured the sunset on a plume of smoke from the Ward Gulch Fire near Rifle.

 

This particular fire is now contained but yesterday evening another blew up very fast in the same area, the plume of smoke visible from miles away. We're hoping for some decent rains this summer though the monsoon season is a few weeks away.

While we wait for water from the skies there is plenty in the rivers which are running fast and high. We've been out on the Roaring Fork and the Eagle Rivers and will surely hit up the Colorado soon as we pick our runs according to the funnest rapids. In the middle of Toothache, a great section of Class III+ on the Roaring Fork River:

In short it's mountain standard time around here. And that's just fine with me.

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