Wow, I really like Spring in Steamboat Springs. It’s the time of year to be snowboarding the resort at mid-day, and hoping that I don’t have to go back to work.
It’s catching deep sun rays on the lawn at T Bar.
It’s watching daffodils grow in bunches in front yards.
And watching the river rise and get my raft ready for floating.
Camping plans become more finalized.
And the days are longer and warmer.
There is much I appreciate about this time of year. And Spring skiing has to be my favorite part. After a season of chasing powder days, building skills that make snowboarding more adventuresome (like being able to drop 8 feet without vertigo or my stomach twisting), and getting 17,000 feet of vertical a day, warm and sunny lazy afternoons sounds really good.
And it is called Mud Season for a reason.
Man, is it muddy everywhere! As the snow melts, rivulets are everywhere, finding the easiest path downhill and eventually making it to the Yampa River. At this time, the ground is still cold and frozen below the surface. Water cannot penetrate the surface very well. This water sits around until it can be absorbed, or it runs off, carrying mud with it. Today, the Yampa River is full of brown silt and clay. Definitely not a good day for fishing.
And this runoff is a little early. Those I have conversations with are thinking that this year will be much like last year when the river had an initial peak, then things cooled off and stopped melting. This brought the river down for a couple weeks, which allowed for it to clear up and we could fish for a bit. Eventually everything warms up and the river rises to high water, generally around the first half of June.
For sports, much of my activity is on the road with my bike or in my truck, adventuring around the area and finding new views and experience the dynamic geology of Routt County. Mountain trails really open up in May, when they have lost most of their snow and trails have dried out.
Sometimes snow doesn’t go away. A few years ago, we hiked up to Rabbit Ears rock. When we got within half a mile, we ran into a huge snow bank that was 100 yards long or more. This snow was lower on the land and sheltered by evergreens on both sides of the trail. We did have to navigate some muddy terrain, but the snow we walked on was firm and the rest of the trail was dry.
This Spring, I plan on traveling the back roads to Rifle, Colorado and fishing lakes as much as I can until the river clears up.