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posted by Sandy Fails Comments: 0 comments

            I spent Thursday afternoon among newborn calves on the Maldarella ranch near Parlin, and it reminded me that April and May do have their beauties here. Yes, it’s mud season, off season, quiet season. Yes, today the snow is melting into muck, the sky is gray, and half the restaurateurs in town have put up “Back in May” signs. But tomorrow the sun will shine, more green shoots will power through to greet the light, and we have so many fine restaurants, it’s almost a relief to have fewer choices.

            Here are a dozen of my favorite things about quiet season.

            1. Sports roulette. Snow covers the backcountry biking trails, and the Nordic ski trails aren’t groomed any more. But on any given day, you can use quite a few pieces of gear: snowshoes, backcountry skis, tennis racquet, running shoes, kayak, road bike.... (No hurry getting out the golf clubs, though Dos Rios isn’t far away.)

            2. To celebrate the above: the April 27 CB3P, Crested Butte Pole, Pedal, Paddle. Hot competitors and super-cool partiers ski up, around and back down the slopes, bike the highway to Gunnison, jump into various watercraft to float the Gunnison River to the whitewater park, and join other celebrants shoreside for the picnic/awards festivities. A mud season specialty!

            3. The first bare skin. Yes, when we shed our longjohns and reveal our pasty-white flesh, we all look like we’ve just had body casts removed after a long convalescence. But oh, how luscious it feels to have sun on skin without chillbumps.

            4. Enforced outdoor moderation. We have a tendency to overdo it when warm weather hits: pounding pavement, baring skin and ignoring indoor responsibilities. Spring seems to follow each irresistibly glorious day with a soggy one good only for soaking muscles, lotioning sunburn and answering emails.