June-uary

RMNP Fern Lake with Clay, Maddy, Annie, and Marcel

We woke up to a fresh layer of snow covering the ground. Today. On June 1st!

In Ohio, we think of June as solidly summer. The school’s Summer Break starts at the beginning of the month… We go on summer vacations and play summer sports… We wear summer clothes and eat summer foods. Even though we know that astronomically, the summer solstice doesn’t occur until the third week of the month, we just know that it feels like summer in Ohio when June comes around.

But Colorado is different. Especially here in the vicinity of the Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s almost always a good bit cooler than conditions in Kent (or even Denver, for that matter). Usually, I’d describe this difference as ”refreshing.” But this year — with extra cold and extra snow extra-late in the season — I’m more inclined to label it as ”challenging.” Mostly because it’s just been a challenge to stay warm since coming out here for our church network’s Leadership Training program.

RMNP Fern Lake with Clay, Maddy, Annie, and Marcel

Waking up to that fresh layer of snowfall this morning, however, I decided to embrace the wintry conditions. I joined a group headed to hike up to Fern Lake. Where the snow was even deeper and the air was even colder.

As we set out from the trailhead, just a little before 5:00 AM, the skies were still dark and heavy with mist. It was cold, but we stayed warm by gaining elevation (one of the surest ways I know to warm up!). And as the skies brightened with the rising of the sun, we just had to stop and take in the views. Even if it made us colder.

RMNP Fern Lake with Clay, Maddy, Annie, and Marcel

It actually ended up being a really special hike because of the wintry conditions. I’ve seen mountaintop snow in the Rockies before, but I haven’t seen as much valley snow. It was beautiful. And the snow made it especially interesting to see a part of the park that got burned in the East Troublesome Fire from back in 2020.

RMNP Fern Lake with Clay, Maddy, Annie, and Marcel

We made it to Fern Lake without incident. And then, to top it all off, we saw two moose on the way back down to the trailhead! Moose are typically rare on the East side of the Rocky Mountain National Park (fewer of them, plus more humans making noise and disturbing their rest)… But maybe they’re not so rare when conditions are more wintry? I’m no moose expert, but it was just cool to see these massive creatures lying in the melting snow.

RMNP Fern Lake with Clay, Maddy, Annie, and Marcel

I’m very grateful for the experiences that I’ve been able to have out here in Colorado, even when it’s been uncomfortably cold. I’m still hoping that this June-uary will give way to June one of these days.

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