Morning photo: Spring daze

Valley snow is melting fast

Twilight hike on Ptarmigan Mountain, Summit County, Colorado.

Twilight hike on Ptarmigan Mountain, Summit County, Colorado.

FRISCO — You know it was going to happen one of these days — even the biggest snow berms from the winter are melting down and hikers say that some local trails are already starting to dry out. That’s the case along the Ptarmigan Mountain Trail, where the first pasqueflowers of the season are blooming just in time for Easter. Continue reading

Morning photo: April come she will

Springtime in the Rockies?

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The ice on Dillon Reservoir was mostly gone by late April, 2012, with a few berms of snow left on the shore at Pine Cove Campground, near Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — Weatherwise, April is always been one of the most dynamic months in the Colorado high country. Cold spring storms off the Pacific alternate with warm and sunny high pressure systems building from the Desert Southwest … and this year seems to be no exception, as the snow of the past few days is expected to give way to the warmest weather of the year, so far, in the coming week. But think back just two years ago, when Colorado (and much of the country) experienced a record-warm March, leading to summer-like conditions in April. It’s never a boring month! Continue reading

Morning photo: Best of March

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A little bit of melting along the edge of the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco indicates spring is, however reluctantly, coming.

A little bit of melting along the edge of the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco indicates spring is, however reluctantly, coming.

FRISCO — In past years, I’ve photographed early wildflowers in March, but this long winter has left a solid blanket of snow still draped over the high country. A few warm afternoons have hinted at spring, but winter has been tenacious. Here’s what it looked like in Summit County the past few weeks. Continue reading

Morning photo: Saturday set

Spring light

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Gore Range glow.

FRISCO — The equinox is still a week away, but there are signs of spring in the air. Days and nights are nearly equal length, and the higher sun angle in the middle part of the day adds a new dimension to forest scenes. All these images, except one, were taken in the morning. Can you guess which is an afternoon shot? If you like our daily snapshot series, visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America, featuring the best Summit County landscape images available as prints or greeting cards. Continue reading

Morning Photo: Saturday set

March!

Soon ...

Soon …

FRISCO — OK, it’s not quite spring yet, as least as far as the “official” definition, which sets the start of the loveliest season at vernal equinox, around March 21. But meteorologically speaking, March 1 is the start of spring, regardless of what the groundhogs and robins are doing, and it’s also the snowiest month of the year for our little slice of the Colorado high country. Sometimes it feels like a battle of the seasons, with winter furiously throwing more snow on to the ground in an ultimately futile effort to slow the inevitable — like the return of the robins. Continue reading

Morning photo: Signs of spring

Better late than never …

Pasque flowers along the Ptarmigan Trail.

Pasque flowers along the Ptarmigan Trail.

FRISCO — A short hike along the Ptarmigan Trail to start the Memorial Day weekend yielded some of the first real spring-like images of the year, including some always spectacular pasque flowers, as well as aspen leaves finally starting to show, as late as I can ever remember. All this just one year after the earliest and warmest spring on record, which may be another sign of weather extremes driven by global climate change, or, maybe, just nature;s inherent capricious whimsy. Continue reading

Morning photo: Spring … really!

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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.

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The sun, captured in a raindrop.

Continue reading

Morning photo: signs of spring

meltdown …

A stand of aspens is partially submerged by a spring snowmelt pond near the Meadow Creek trailhead in Frisco, Colorado.

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! Continue reading

Morning photo: What a storm!

Not quite a drought-buster …

Translucence ...

Translucence …

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. Continue reading

Morning photo: Spring sunshine

Around the reservoir

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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. Continue reading

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