Now what ?
It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I was perpetually cold and adding clothing layers in an attempt to adapt to the onset of winter. We had enough winter that I finally managed to classify my assortment of gloves into various temperature range increments. Ironically I will forget these details next winter and will have to relearn them through trial and error. This is my lot in life.
When we got our cabin last February it kicked off a chain of events that was beyond unexpected. One of my favorite questions is to ask people is what turned out to be different about a particular experience compared to what they had expected. The constant change of the Methow was the most unexpected revelation of the past twelve months. The area truly is alive. Witnessing the seasons change is energizing and inspiring.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again; each week from February to the middle of July is different. My preconceived notion was that there was winter, the mud season and summer. I imagined those three periods were distinct and finite.
See the patches of snow ?
Winter departs slowly but predictably. The melting pattern creeps up the valley as spring establishes a foothold. At first only the roads are clear of snow followed by the emergence of patches of bare ground here and there until finally the only snow on the ground is the remnants of piles left by snow plows and roof dumps. By the time that melts we are wearing sandals and stocking up on sunscreen.
I incorrectly thought the “Mud Season” lasted from late March to Late May. It turns out the transition from snow to dirt happens pretty fast and for any given spot it is more accurately “mud week.” Our mud week and Mazama’s mud week are different weeks but you get the idea. Once spring makes its way up the valley it then rapidly ascends into the hills. My beloved gravel roads are impassible with snow one day only to be wide open two weeks later.
The warming weather of last spring kept me trying to adapt myself as well. I was constantly feeling like I had the wrong clothes and then when I brought the right clothes the next week, the weather had changed again. The one hundred degree swing from January to July has more than enough range to catch anyone off guard multiple times.
This is the time of year when I am once again surprised by the changes around me as the days finally get longer. I can do yard work after a day at the office.
We haven’t even ticked off two complete months of 2015 and already I have multiple road rides in the Methow Valley. Hottie and I have continued skiing and fat biking so winter is far from over. The trend of warmer days and freezing nights typically reserved for March has hit early this year and it is yielding some rare opportunities in the valley. The chance to ski in the morning and ride a bike on the roads in the afternoon is a rare situation and must be taken of advantage of just on the principle of the thing.
On the west side of the Cascades we had a bit of winter. It came early and seems to have been chased out by an early spring. If this is what climate change looks like locally, I’m okay with it so far.
Despite having experienced spring in the Methow last year with my eyes wide open I fully anticipate being surprised every visit again this year. Knowing what is coming may lessen the surprise but that is more than made up for by the anticipation. I will confess I am like a kid on Chismus eve. The Methow, like my gravel bike, is about to awaken from a pleasant rest and get it going!