Call it what you will: Shoulder season. Slack season. Mud season.
Whatever label you choose, late spring brings a definitive set of realities to a ski town.
Gone is the weekly pilgrimage of skiers and snowboarders flocking to the mountains for a weekend fix. The surge of happy-go-lucky summer lake-goers remains a long way off. Hotel rooms sit empty. Parking spaces are beyond abundant. It’s painfully easy to get a table at even the most popular eateries and watering holes.
The prevailing belief is that there isn’t much to do in and around McCall this time of year.
To be sure, we have our share of rainy, gray spring days. True, it may be some time before our favorite trails, fishing holes, and alpine lakes emerge from the high elevation snowpack. The mountains are not yet ready to offer a full menu of fair weather activities.
But…those who assume that spring in the mountains is a dreary time are sorely mistaken.
There’s something decidedly invigorating about rhythms of spring. Each warm day exposes a bit more of the natural landscape.
Each ray of sunshine coaxes forth a bit more green from the deciduous forests.
Each week brings the opportunity to explore more of our favorite places as they reveal their seasonal secrets.
Still, spring calls for patience. The pendulum swing from summer-like evenings back to morning snow storms reminds us not to get too eager for the next high season.
But like this fox, fixated, waiting for melting snow to produce a tasty treasure, those who are vigilant begin to have hope.
We know that no matter how slow the snow is to retreat; it will reveal treasures. And we see new signs every day of the season yet to come.
The snow recedes. The earth pushes forth its familiar spring beacons.
Life is emerging from beneath the frozen veil.
We trace the progress of the changing seasons, knowing what those who stay away from the mountains will miss.
The rare treasures are here.
Summer is coming.
And hope springs eternal.