Last year, the park pond's winter ice was officially broken up on March 10. Since 1999, the official ice free date ranged between March 10 and March 30. Yesterday (the 29th), it was still essentially all frozen at around 9am. These photos were taken today around 1pm, showing that the ice is breaking up, but still has a ways to go. I suspect it will take a few days before it is fully ice free, making 2010 a late year for the pond winter ice to disappear. Come on up and see for yourself - the roads are still muddy, but these warm days have the melt in full swing! By the way, unless we receive snow tomorrow, March will go into the books with 59.5" of snow, bringing the season total to 150" (35" more than average). And April's potential snow still lurks - so mud season may continue for awhile longer this year. Come on wildflowers!
After a morning of tasks, I borrowed a camera from Helene (since mine died) and hit the sloppy wet Tower Trail to witness for myself the emerging spring. A tug of war between the sun and clouds saw the clouds losing their hold on the sky as I sat and journaled at a cluster of exposed granite along the trail. I took this photo of my hiking companions under a fair sky amidst quickly melting snow at a place I call Lower Tranquility Rock, a place I have sat countless times -- to contemplate life, work out problems, watch the world go by, sing to hikers on full moon hikes, journal with students, watch birds...a favorite and special place in the park.
The meteorologist-wannabe in me is enjoying the weather lately. We are certainly in a storm pattern...the last 3 weeks have brought just over 46" of new snow, containing over 4" of moisture. Along with the warmer temps, it is no wonder that the park roads, which have received band aids at best for a long time and are in need of significant improvements, are a mess. Several sections need some re-engineering, most need to be re-shaped, and then lots and lots of road-base, and all of this is much more expensive than our current revenues can handle - although we are scheming on what our next step should be for a real solution. To reduce additional damage (and folks getting their vehicles stuck), we have temporarily closed them until they dry out a bit. You can still get to the main parking area by the Horseshoe Lodge to access the park for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and to experience the emerging spring which is picking up speed each day. The birds have been especially vocal these days - ravens are pairing up, flickers are making a racket with their drumming and loud calls, and chickadees are singing. And all of this snow (we are right at 115" for the season so far, which is an average winter snowfall, and we still have several more weeks of potential snow) should make for a terrific wildflower show this year.
I used to play, and still do sometimes, this lovely guitar instrumental by John Denver called Late Winter / Early Spring. I ought to get my guitar out and play it, because Pueblo Mountain Park is most certainly experiencing the weather typical of this time of year, as winter begins to lose its hold on the land. Not that snow is not a part of that typical weather - in fact, wet, heavy snows, or what are often called spring snows, are the norm around here these days. We just reached the 97" mark for the winter for snow totals so far, and I am confident we will be getting more - soon, I believe. All the moisture in these wet snows has another sure sign of late winter / early spring in plentiful supply in the park - mud! My camera decided it doesn't like all this mud, or something, because it refuses to work - so, no photos in this blog. In spite of the mud, it's quite lovely out there as the days warm. Come up and see us, take a hike, enjoy the signs of spring - just where your mud shoes! Happy trails, Dave