Waiting on Winter

Powdered dirt rolled from beneath Keri's tire, reminding me of a boat's wake, conditions that are typical of our local trails mid-summer. Unfortunately this isn't mid-summer. It's the middle of December and the wake-like dust exists from a lack of water, solid or liquid.

Early November snows and freezing temperatures put on a show, making those of us in the mountain west believe winter had arrived. Skis were edged and waxed, $20 bills were found hidden in pockets of puffy jackets, and ice tools sharpened. Online, the winter loving community traded information, hoping to scratch a winter itch. A few early stashes offered an antidote, but once worn off, the itch returned with greater intensity. It would be okay, we told ourselves. Winter was arriving, snow would get deeper and ice would become thicker. The itch would be satiated.

We were all deluded.

After the initial salvo, winter vanished.  A ridge of high pressure is pushing against our collective desire. Mountain towns warmed to 60 degrees. Snow melted, ice sublimated. Those initial frenzied days of gear prep and burning aspirations have been choked to a smolder. It's been weeks since a storm passed close enough to spit out a single teasing flake of snow.

So we wait and keep busy.

We harvested a Christmas tree as in previous years. Only instead of easily hauling the cut tree over glittering snow, we bashed aside branches with the truck bumper to avoid dragging it through a half mile of red dirt and prickly pear.

Now and then we hike in preparation for an adventure early in the new year.

And of course, we ride our bikes.

Keri is cranking her pedals to 1000 miles this year and she'll probably push past the invisible line wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Every mile has seen her trail skills improve and confidence rise. Obstacles never defeated, now fall with every ride. She doesn't know how much happiness watching her growth brings me, but if it continues at such a pace, I worry about keeping up.

So come on winter, please come back. Cover our trails with snow before I grow fat eating her dust!


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