Buttercups bloomed this week, the first wildflowers after a long winter.
FRISCO — After a few false starts, it appears that spring has truly sprung in the Colorado high country, though it shouldn’t surprise anyone if it snows once (or twice) more before all is said and done. But the past few days, we’ve experienced beneficial moistening rains and the Earth is responding in overdrive. Grass and other plants are growing almost visibly from day to day, the first few wildflowers have popped and streams are swelling in their banks. Even after many years living high in the mountains, the speed always surprises me a little. Our native plants, adapted to a short growing season, seem to know there’s no time to waste.
A stand of aspens is partially submerged by a spring snowmelt pond near the Meadow Creek trailhead in Frisco, Colorado.
SUMMIT COUNTY —At long last, the melt season has started in the Colorado high country, nearly a month later than last year. As it goes in the mountains, things change in a hurry once it warms up. Tender green sprouts shoot up at the edge of crusty snowbanks, sometimes growing an inch per day. There’s not a lot of time — at 10,000 feet, most plants have to reach flowering stage within just a couple of months. Springtime in the Rockies! (more…)
FRISCO —While this mid-April storm may not quite qualify as a bona fide drought buster, it sure won’t hurt and it will definitely take the hard edge off concerns about summer water supplies. As of Monday afternoon, about 16 inches had piled up here in Frisco, and more snow is, supposedly, on the way. (more…)
Big snowdrifts are slowly melting in the lee of what were once islands in Dillon Reservoir.
FRISCO — After a spate of cold, gray days (and there are more to come), April sunshine finally broke through Friday afternoon. What a great way to start the weekend! It didn’t take long for the snow to start melting away in the flats around Dillon Reservoir, showing how far the water level dropped this winter. Beneath a few meltwater ponds, the dry, cracked mud of last autumn is still visible — apparently it takes a while for the thirsty Earth to replenish itself. More snowy and cold weather is expected starting Saturday afternoon right into the first half of next week, but the afternoon sunshine gave a hint of warmer days ahead. (more…)
SUMMIT COUNTY —April yielded some of the best pictures of the year, from rich and saturated colors, finally warmed by the seasonal sun, to delicate scenes of melting ice and dramatic sunrises. Vote in the poll for your favorite April picture. The winning photo will be featured as the monthly image in the 2013 Summit Voice calendar.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fall aspen season, when the leaves turn, is rightly hailed as one of the most spectacular times of year in the high country, with splashy colors and crisp air. But the spring transition, when the trees go from bare bones to flickering green in just a few days, is equally stunning, although a bit more subtle. It’s a little harder to capture the tender green of emerging aspen leaves, since the display is not quite as showy. (more…)
SUMMIT COUNTY — When I started bushwhacking up along Meadow Creek Saturday, I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I wasn’t expecting icicles. Yet in the deeper, shadier sections of the gorge, there they were, looking wintry. Technically, they’re probably not really icicles, so I’ve decided to call them splashcicles, since they form when water from the creek splashes up and coats nearby branches or logs, only to drip down again. (more…)
Kim Fenske captured this great image of snowshoe hare during a late winter excursion on Mt. Yale, in the Sawatch Range. Click to see the rest of his adventure.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — March came in like a lamb, and, well, it went out like a lamb as well, with a skein of dry and mild weather that was pleasant but frightening. Dillon Reservoir is on track to melt as early as it’s ever melted, which could add to potential water woes through increased evaporation, and the snowpack at local ski areas was nothing to brag about, unless you’re a huge fan of spring conditions. But life goes on, and like any other month in the high country, there are moments of great beauty, even if the weather is unseasonably dry and warm. (more…)
It's the first day of spring -- can the first wildflowers be far behind? In Summit County, the pasque flower is often the first to bloom, protected from frost by a thick coat of fuzz. I've seen them as early as the last week of March on the south side of Ptarmigan and Tenderfoot mountains.
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s the first official day of spring, at least by the calendar, but here in the high country, that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Chances are, we’ll still see some significant snowfall, and probably some chilly temperatures. But as the days grow longer than the night, inexorably, the ground will soften and warm, giving birth to new life. The ice will melt, the grass will grow and the world will turn in that endless cycle of seasons. Read more about this year’s early vernal equinox in this Summit Voice story.
It's the ice melt season on Dillon Reservoir, and some years, when the water is still below freezing and a hard wind blows, unusual frazil ice forms near the shore.
The Officer's Gulch Pond is a study in deep green water and forest hues in this image from the summer of 2010.
SUMMIT COUNTY — With St. Patrick’s Day just last week, and today being the official first full day of spring, I was yearning for some green, so I browsed the Summit Voice photo archives for most verdant pictures I could find. And since we tilt toward a green world view anyway, it all seemed to fit together. (more…)
A monstrous tornado at least a half-mile wide roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods and destroying an elementary school with a direct blow as children and teachers huddled against winds up to 200 mph. At least 51 people were killed, and officials said the death toll was expected to rise.