Photo by John F. Russell
Ranch hand Ralphael Becerra fixes a fence near Routt County Road 44C on Monday afternoon. The arrival of spring and the Steamboat area's quickly disappearing snowpack means ranchers are busy trying to get their fences back up after a long hard winter.
Tom Ross' column appears Tuesdays and Saturdays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Tom here.
I stepped onto my deck Sunday afternoon just to admire my roof. The south side is entirely free of snow, and it's a beautiful thing.
There's a small ditch - maybe 8 inches across - in the rear of my yard that drains snowmelt from six or eight lots in my subdivision. I've named it Slayton Creek after my pioneer ancestors. It was carrying about a cubic foot of water Saturday. The creek was so full I half expected to see rainbow trout making spawning runs up from Walton Creek.
When I turned my gaze across the cul de sac, I noticed my neighbor Jerry shoveling snow into his driveway.
"The poor guy," I thought to myself. "He busted his butt all winter to clear record snowfall so that he could get into his garage, and now he's reversing the process."
Then it struck me. I've been doing the exact same thing. In February, I struggled to get snow out of the driveway. And for the past two weeks I've been hurling shovels full of snow into the driveway where the warm asphalt will make them melt faster.
Jerry was just trying to make spring giddyup. Next to his driveway, where he used his shovel to slice off sections of dense snow, it's still 4 feet deep. At least the two of us can sleep better at night knowing that our lawns will gradually turn green in 2-foot wide strips.
Living in Steamboat for 25 years will do strange things to a man or woman. Like compelling you to move the same snow pile twice.
This isn't my favorite time of year. But there's something I relish about Steamboat in slumber mode.
You could have walked across U.S. Highway 40 at Pine Grove Road on Sunday without looking twice in both directions.
The only line I waited in was at the car wash. There were two cars waiting at one bay. At the next, some dude had already washed his car, but he was intent on washing his road bike like it was a baby.
In the third bay, some lady was coating her white SUV in purple foam. I was concerned it might be permanent.
Had it been December, my blood pressure might have spiked. "Don't they know I have to get home and deck the halls with those damn boughs of holly?"
But it's not December. It's April. And I told myself, "Let them take their time."
I just turned up Springsteen on the satellite and daydreamed for a few minutes.
It was so mellow at a local breakfast joint the food server urged us to hang out and read after our meal.
There were no gang shoppers at the grocery store during the weekend. You know the phenomenon I'm talking about - five fortysomething guys who never buy the groceries at home, shopping in a pack on ski vacation. They have to stop and consult Robert's Rules of Order before they can decide which brand of tortilla chips to purchase.
The grocery was so quiet Sunday that Danica Patrick could have accelerated her Indy car down the canned vegetable aisle without breaking the artichoke hearts.
How mellow was it? The store manager helped my wife load the Subaru. You won't see that in March.
When it's spring break at the public schools, one-third of Steamboat is in Mexico and the other third is in Utah. The rest of us are stuck here shoveling snow out of our yards and into our driveways.
Keep up the good work, and feel deeply satisfied knowing that you are using passive solar energy to hasten the changing of the seasons.