The weather is weighing heavily on my mind. I agreed to be in Avon for the summer, I am in Avon, therefore it ought to be summer. But it’s still decidedly nippy spring weather 75% of the time. There was one perfectly gorgeous evening last week when I (and the rest of the town’s tiny population) felt the uncontainable urge to head to Nottingham Lake for some sunshine and water proximity. But mainly, there has been windstorm after hailstorm after thunderstorm. The chilly winds are useful for my exercise goals, though, as they improve motivation to move at a brisk pace. Weather, however, is not the only thing putting a crimp in my grandiose plans. Take yesterday’s hiking excursion. I packed myself up and drove over to Vail to investigate the hopefully named Lost Lake trail. There was a lack of cooperation between my phone’s GPS system and the forest service page’s directions, but I was actually fine with this, because I ended up in an area of the Vail foothills where I had hiked and run during my stay there two winters past. When my phone blurted out crazed directions, I knew the location of the nearest trailhead parking lot well enough to ignore it and continue blithely on in the relatively correct direction. After some mental distance calculations and re-evaluation of ‘closed’ signs, I found the dirt road turnoff for forest road #700. Sadly, the road only continued for about a mile before it was gated off. The trailhead I was aiming for was still about eight miles distant – not far in a vehicle, but further than I was going to travel on foot, one way. On the other hand, the road beyond the gate looked almost like hiking material and I decided to travel onward and see if any other side trails presented themselves. I explored for just over an hour, but when the road became completely snow covered and the darkening sky provided an ominous hush my self-generated noise became insufficient for company. Each swish of my feet was followed by a skittering as the snow I had pushed away slid across the icy crust surrounding me. The sound was time-delayed from my actual footstep, making me repeatedly jump in surprise and suspiciously search the trees on either side of the road. Deciding that continuing would not be enjoyable, I turned to head back downhill. This was when the clouds above began to gently release their loads. I would walk through a minute of minuscule hail, then come into a clear space, then return into mixed hail and sleet. Happily, none of the weather was overly violent and I had a jacket in my bag. Being only a fraction of the height of the trees, I could always hear the rain start to ruffle their needles a few seconds before it reached my head and the additional sounds were welcome after the stifled silence of the snow path. I had had a pleasant walk, but I didn’t feel that it had quite met my expectations of a hike, so when I spotted a trailhead on the opposite side of the turnout where I had parked, I stopped to pull my beanie out of the car and went to explore. It looked like a perfect hiking trail, narrow, muddy, and rising abruptly through pines. Sadly, it was marked as closed for elk calving season. Although I had avoided the lower trailhead because I was looking for new places to explore, I decided to fit in one more quick excursion in the wet afternoon. Again, I parked and headed toward the trail only to be stopped short by another elk calving closure. I was somewhat confused, as I had seen people hiking in the area earlier in the afternoon, but perhaps I misunderstood their direction, or am more sign-abiding. Between weather, road closure, and trail closure, I am grateful to have gotten my two hours of hiking in, but at the same time, I do wish there were not so many spring restrictions on my summer goals.
The Interference of Spring Rain
May 18, 2016