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Spring in the Colorado Rockies

White peaks and the end of Winter cold

It's the first of April and not a cloud in the sky from high up on the Continental Divide at 12,000' elevation. I'm at the Loveland Ski Area up on the Ridge, with a glorious view of Summit County ski areas in the distance - Keystone and Breckenridge. It's a balmy 40 degrees with a light wind. All the mountains are brilliant white from the latest Spring snowfall. With the warming of April, the snows will start melting and by June, bare spots will appear, and the Aspen trees will start leafing out. At the lower elevations the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Front Range cities of Denver and Colorado Springs, Spring is already blooming; the brown grasses are turning green and the Cottonwood trees are starting to green. But up at 9,000' and above, the grasses are brown and the trees are bare. The lower elevation snows are melting, revealing brown grass and mud. Mud, lots of it - this is why in the High Country, we call it the "Mud Season". Ski areas are closing, and the promise of Summer is still two months away. So I will put on my hiking boots and go down in elevation to the foothills of the Rockies to hike on the dry trails. And today, in Woodland Park, above Colorado Springs, I put on a short sleeve shirt for the first time this year. The temperatures are into the mid and high fifties. My arms are white, and I need to work on my tan to match my face. I will ski a few more times until Loveland Ski Area closes around the tenth of May. And then, I will be truly ready for Summer after the white and muddy Spring.