Sunday, January 11, 2009


As we've been experiencing our first Colorado winter, a few things are worth pointing out. First of all, compared to Boston winters are rather temperate (so far, anyway). There has been one really cold weekend--when Rob and Lisa came to visit, of course--but otherwise it has been anywhere from the 30s to the 60s. Yes, that's right 60s in January! Secondly, it's really quite sunny in the winter. Though we've seen more cloudy days this season than fall and summer combined, I think the count of days without sun is only up to 14. (Yes, I really have been counting days without sun). We've been here over 6 months now and to have merely two weeks without seeing the sun isn't bad. Next, the snow is not so bad. Sure, locals tell us the snowiest months are February and March, but what we've had so far ain't bad. It sticks around for a couple of days and then it's gone. We have been riding bikes all winter because the streets and bike paths have been relatively or totally clear.

This brings me to the topic of today's blog. It gets really freaking windy in the foothills in winter. According to our local paper, January is the windiest month. So far this January we've had gusts of up to 73mph, but a few years ago they saw gusts up to 100mph. This wind isn't so bad when you're inside, sure you hear things rattling outside, but it's almost scary outside. We were riding bikes to the rock gym on Wednesday and we literally got blown off the bikes. I had to stop for a minute because I just couldn't pedal anymore. Yesterday we were hiking the southern part of the Meas Trail and we were both being blown over while we were hiking back to the car.

On Wednesday night things did get scary. A power line was downed in one of the North Boulder neighborhoods and started a fire in the foothills. The fire spread very quickly and Wednesday night many (I would guess a couple of dozen) of my students had to be evacuated from their homes. I know this because they all came into school Thursday and it was the first words out of their mouths. Including one little boy who told me his father was fighting the fire and came home with ashes in hes ears. Fortunately, the fire was put out by Thursday and only 2 homes and a couple of barns were engulfed by the flames. Thousands of acres were burnt and it was really something actually seeing a fire that big--previously I had only seen fires like that on the news. We drove by the effected area yesterday and it was obviously totally black.

The wind in the mountains yesterday prevented us from skiing and snowshoeing. We drove up to Brainard Lake and after dressing and hopping on the trail for two minutes, we promptly decided to turn around and go back to the car. We guessed there were gusts up to 40mph and that coupled with 20 degree temps did not make for fun conditions. So, we stopped for lunch at the Blue Moon Bakery in Nederland and then hiked in the afternoon back in Boulder.

I hope today it's not as windy!

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