A Winter Walk in Spring Air

As is often the case along the Colorado Front Range, a southwest wind has brought a sunny, mild interlude in the midst of winter.  Determined to enjoy this spring-like weather, I headed to Chatfield State Park for a walk through the fields and riverside woodlands.  Though many of the ponds remain frozen, ice fishermen were decked out in light-weight clothing, some in shorts and T-shirts.

Hiking through the snow-covered landscape, it looked like winter but felt like spring.  On the other hand, the fragrance of spring was missing and the winter silence persisted, broken only by the brash chatter of magpies, the soft twittering of chickadees and the distant calls of geese.  The trails were covered in alternating sections of soft snow and smooth ice, providing incentive to wander slowly and take in the beautiful scenery.  On the South Platte, where I encountered mixed flocks of buffleheads, goldeneyes and mergansers, sheets of ice were cracking and mounds of snow were plunging from the banks.

While relatively mild weather is forecast for the coming week, periods of spring and winter will alternate through mid May.  Our heaviest snows lie ahead, when the upslope storms of March and April push copious moisture toward the Front Range.  For now, we'll enjoy a combination of balmy air and a snowy landscape, the best of both seasons.