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Summer: Full Speed Ahead

By Ann Driggers

 

Eeegawds! From out of nowhere came summer! There was I thinking that June was really the end of spring, which technically I guess it is, but someone flicked the switch to full speed ahead already. Summer officially starts in two days time, but let me tell you it has been here for quite a while. No rain and searing heat are some of the obvious signs down in the lower valleys. But even up high summer has fairly barreled its way in, giving me the perfect excuse to bolt for the mountains.

Although the avalanche, or snow, lilies are blooming as the snow recedes the ground is super dry underneath.

Above 12,000 feet there are only small patches of snow left. And only on north facing slopes.

Flowers are blooming everywhere. Columbines, the Colorado state flower, are out in force this year for some reason. So pretty!

The last of the snowmelt is cascading down the mountain sides, streams fringed with more alpine blooms.

I've been getting out as much as I can, covering some good distances each day. Some might call it mountain running. I call it more of a mountain shuffle - speed hiking the up hills and running the flats and carefully scooting the downs. My favorite trails tend to the less frequently traveled and therefore not the easiest to run with lots of narrow sidehilling, pocked by herds of elk, steep and rough, covered in avalanche debris and bushwhacking through thorny thickets. The scenic rewards are endless but also contribute to my slow pace as I rubberneck my way around.

I can run/shuffle for miles and miles inside these postcards.

And after soaking my weary feet in the icy river, it's happy hour on the lake. Peaceful paddling in the honey light of evening:

Speaking of feet...here's the strange markings of a river rat turned mountain marmot (before being dunked in the river):

Back at the cabin, trying the new slackline:

And watching the stars brighten in the sky before a roaring fire to ward off the night time cool:

Oh yeah! Summer, full speed ahead? That's quite ok with me. I'm drunk on summer love right now.

P.S. Please, we need some rain. Badly. And while I'm asking, steady soaking rains would be better than apocalyptic thunderstorms and flash floods. Thank you.

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