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Proper Clag

By Ann Driggers

 

Above: Claggy weather in Colorado. Clag obscures Mount Sopris.

I've lost count of how many days it has rained in a row. Like really rained, reminding me of the Motherland across the Pond. It was 16 years ago that my webbed feet finally had the chance to dry out and I do not want them back, thank you very much. This level of moisture is a rarity in Colorado. Known for our indigo blue skies, of course we have rain but it's usually of the afternoon thunderstorm variety, not an endless deluge. Here in the western part of the state I can hardly complain though, as is covered on national and international news, Boulder and other parts of the Front Range are bearing the dreadful and heartbreaking brunt of this non-stop claggy weather.

Clag is a word I grew up with and was used to describe the typical northern English grey weather of rain and/or drizzle with lots of low-lying cloud. Apparently it is derived from an aviation acronym used by the Royal Air Force meaning "Cloud Low Aircraft Grounded". I've also read that its origin is perhaps from Scandanavia where the word 'klag' means sticky mud and indeed claggy can also be used to describe something sticky.

Either way clag and ensuing clagginess happens during rain or just after and since this was about 95% of the time, one could say the weather in Northern England is more often than not claggy as was the ground. Not so in Colorado. Until this week. We've had some proper clag I can tell you!

Mount Sopris looking a little claggy on top:

Between rain storms, clag hanging around in the Roaring Fork Valley:

Despite the claggy weather I still got out. Here I'm running past one of the few stands of aspens which have started to change. I'm likely leaping over a puddle or section of trail which is claggy in order to avoid getting myself covered in clag.

Of which there was lots. Of clag that is.

The weather forecast is much improved so hopefully this is the last encounter we have with proper clag for a long time. Fall is on its way and I'm really looking forward to getting out among the colors.

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