Cover story: Daylight playing time
You are so close, western Colorado. Winter is almost over!
Although spring technically begins March 20, one of the first signs of the changing seasons arrives at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 9: Daylight Saving Time.
This annual event on the second Sunday of March means people across America — except for Hawaii and parts of Arizona — move their clocks forward one hour to gain more daylight in the evening hours.
It also represents one less hour of sleep. Hey, you can’t have it all.
But that additional daylight — sunset locally on March 8 is 6:14 p.m., while it’ll be 7:15 p.m., March 9 — comes at the perfect time.
It’s been a cold and wet winter.
According to the National Weather Service, Grand Junction’s average high temperature in December was 26 degrees. The average low was 5. Both were well below normal. In fact, three record lows were set in December alone.
January’s average high was 35. The average low was 13. Both were, again, below normal.
In other words, it’d be understandable if cabin fever reached a breaking point weeks ago. That’s why it’s time to celebrate an extra hour of sunshine.
“What should I do with that extra hour?” you ask. Great question. Here is a list of ways to maximize those 60 minutes.
(Bonus: The National Weather Service’s forecast for Sunday, March 9, is sunny with a high of 60. Yea!)
GET SOME SUNSHINE
■ Fire up the grill. If you aren’t a year-round grillmaster, you might have to first clean the grill and fill the propane tank, but it will be worth it. Haven’t you missed the nice char on some fish, a hamburger or even vegetables?
■ Make dinner. Not a box of macaroni and cheese eaten straight from the pan on a TV tray, but a real dinner. Open an old cookbook, find a new recipe online or experiment with an unfamiliar style of cuisine or technique.
■ Take the kids to a park. They might be hungry enough afterward that they’ll try that new recipe. Heck, they might even go to bed early, giving you more time to enjoy the extended daylight hours.
■ Get up on Grand Mesa and try a winter sport before the snow’s gone. Yes, this might seem counter intuitive, but with Daylight Saving Time you can get started later in the day or stay longer. And it’s warmer. Go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, whatever.
■ Take a hike. This is the time of year when, as long as the trails are dry, the temperatures are just right for high desert hiking. With the extra daylight, you could make that hike a little longer or fit in a short hike after dinner.
■ Read on the back porch or patio, at the park or outside at a coffee shop. (They are often less busy in the late afternoons.)
■ Bake a batch of cookies. From scratch. (The house will smell great.)
■ Walk around your neighborhood. Say “hi” to the neighbors. Look for signs of spring. Help beautify the neighborhood by picking up trash because as the snow melted, it might have left behind trash on sidewalks, sides of streets or in lawns.
■ Go mountain biking. Trails aren’t as busy this time of year and as long as the trails are dry, you can enjoy a relatively quiet outing, particularly if you’re a newbie.
■ Get a jump on spring-cleaning. The time for yard sales is right around the corner, so it’s a great time to start going through the garage, an outdoor shed or spare bedrooms to find items to sell or donate to charity.
■ Enjoy happy hour! Sit outdoors with friends or family while drinking a beverage of your choice and dining on a few appetizers.