Mountain Weather

Living and playing in the mountains teaches one to expect weather surprises. Tomorrow is Summer Solstice – the first day of summer – but today, the boys and I ran trails in flurries of corn snow, temperatures hovering around freezing.

And we loved it.

We’re all three of us early morning creatures. Good thing, because running through the summer months without overheating or dehydrating can be challenging. The boys have thick coats, and I don’t tolerate heat well when running, so we’re all on the same page: cold or cool temperatures are best. It’s one of the reasons I love living here in winter. It gets, and stays, really cold, making running and xc skiing delightful.

Over the years, for summertime running I’ve sussed out nearby trails on east-facing slopes (more morning shade), or those that have streams and creeks flowing most of the summer, or access alpine lakes the boys can wade in to drink and cool their legs and bellies. We follow the snow levels upward in elevation so that the boys can eat snow for fluids and play in the patches of snow remaining over the trail. Dogs love snow. At least, my two do. By August, though, I often have to carry water for the boys to drink, the snow long gone and the streams fed by snow melt having run dry. We start our runs even earlier so we’re off the trails by 9:00 am when the day is quickly warming up.

Finn enjoying a roll in the fast-retreating snow at 7,000 feet in elevation on June 18, 2019.

This morning was a reminder that even near the Summer Solstice a bit of winter can reappear, that one can never be complacent about weather in the mountains.

Pelted with corn snow during this morning’s run on the same mountain, different trail and a bit lower in elevation.

I was glad to have my running vest, a hat and gloves in my running pack, especially after the wind kicked up. I always have an extra pair of gloves in my pack, even in August. You just never know.

The unexpected snow brought unexpected beauty beside the trail.

Corn snow captured in a spider’s web.

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