Amy Roberts: The end is near. Maybe.
We’ve all heard it, if not recited it with some degree of frequency: “I moved here for the winters but stayed for the summers.” Park City should trademark the phrase before Vail tries to.
We tend to treasure our summers in part because they’re generally short lived. It’s not uncommon to be wearing a puffy coat in June or sweep a dusting of snow off the porch in August. At least it didn’t used to be. I haven’t checked the record books to verify, but anecdotally, the summer of 2022 is one of the longest I can recall. It’s late September and we haven’t had a frost, much less a freeze. My neighbor is still mowing his lawn and I continue to water my flower garden. I even have a couple hummingbirds still visiting my feeders. By now, they should be halfway to Mexico.
Perhaps the oddest sight though has been the lack of crimson on the hillside. The colors typically peak in early September. But this year, we’re just starting to see the pops of fuchsia, orange, yellow, and red dot the mountains. There’s still a whole lot of green to be seen.
Even the rut seems later than normal. Girlfriend season for bull moose and elk has long started in August. Now, in late September, they’re on the prowl. And some are a bit more obvious in their quest for love.
Over the weekend police shut down a section of the Rail Trail due to reports of a bull elk channeling his inner Harvey Weinstein. Apparently, he wasn’t taking “no” for an answer and wasn’t particularly discriminating regarding the species of his mate.
Meanwhile in Summit Park, sheriff deputies were called when a bull moose got tangled in a hammock while trying to impress a female. The video posted on social media showed the moose’s antlers twisted in the netting. As he struggled to get free, he only made it worse. Reports are he was stuck for about an hour before deputies were able to cut him loose. By that time, his potential mate had moved on, clearly unimpressed. I’m not sure if animals feel embarrassment, but he trotted off pretty quickly and didn’t make eye contact on his way out. If only he knew how often humans get awkwardly stuck in those things too.
All of this is to say, it seems summer stuck around a bit longer than normal. What that means for winter is anyone’s guess, though predictions from the Farmers’ Almanac (both Old and New) don’t sound too promising.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggested Utah would have a “cold, dry” winter season in 2022, and that wasn’t too far off. January and February were among the driest on record, and our snowpack was more than 25% below normal. The “new” Farmers’ Almanac claimed the winter of 2022 would bring mild temperatures and average precipitation.
I was unaware there’s an almanac rivalry until I started writing this column on Monday night. But apparently there is one. The two publications have competed for accuracy claims for hundreds of years. The only real difference I could determine is the Old Farmer’s Almanac was first published in 1792 and the “new” Farmers’ Almanac was established in 1818. So, the first one has an extra 26 years of guessing experience.
No matter which one you prefer, speculation for this year looks a bit bleak.
The older publication forecasts a warm, wet season across the west. But don’t get too excited, the wet part is expected to be mostly rain. Meanwhile, the newer version anticipates a “mild, dry” winter for the Southwest, with below-normal moisture and warmer than normal temperatures.
Both publications claim the eastern part of the country is poised to see a lot of snow and feel a lot of cold. If they’re correct, Arkansas is likely to boast better skiing this season than Utah.
At this rate, maybe summer won’t end until October. I won’t complain.
This is that weekend. At least, I think it might be. The one perfect fall weekend where the aspen trees are orange and yellow against the evergreens and the maples are red, and the slant of the light tells us the days are getting shorter.
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