The sun is shining. Trees put their (snowless) heads together in the lemony light and wonder if someone got the months mixed up. Last week's storm hit the Front Range and Denver with feet of snow, while Breckenridge got an inch.
|Beaver Run Lift, Peak 9, Breckenridge Ski Area|
The ski area can't make any more snow. The water contract with the Forest Service ended in January. The cats still groom the lower-mountain trails, hoping to retain the snow we have. But, on steeper and more difficult terrain, the skiing is sketchy. It's necessary to watch constantly for rocks and other obstacles. Skier numbers are down 43%.
|Rabbit tracks (possibly a relative of Lucinda)|
I can still exercise on the packed trails behind my house in running shoes. I read the signs in the snow to see which animals are most active. Coyote females in estrus are leaving bloody calling cards. Moose and deer easily navigate through the lower snowpack to paw for grasses. Rabbits and squirrels scamper around rather than hunkering in their burrows. Typically, our mountain temperatures warm slightly through February/March, so even if we get big spring snowstorms, they melt more quickly. A dry winter means more danger from summer forest fires.
I'm finding aspen leaves in the snow. Perhaps they've been stuck on the trees until recent wind storms knocked them down. Fallen leaves in February make it seem like the seasons are playing a trick.
However, it's still winter, and I'm not giving up hope for a major snowfall.
I'm exhausting myself doing the Snow Dance!