Like most Wyomingites, I’m most confused by the spring season. The season is bi-polar. It cannot decide if it is winter or summer!
But when it comes to beauty, is there a time of year when the state is more beautiful than in the spring?
The sparkling green of new growth of grass reflected off the canyon rocks with a few white snowdrifts here and there — that is the picture of colorful beauty.
Our mountains are still so white with snow. The Wind River mountains, which run from the northern edge of Sweetwater County through Sublette and Fremont Counties and end up in Park and Teton Counties, were often called the “shining mountains” by the early pioneers. You could see them from a hundred miles away when the snow glistened.
This description could also apply to the Big Horns, the Wyoming Range, the Sierra Madres, the Tetons, and other mountain ranges around the state.
We spotted the Winds from a long way off during a recent trip where we were returning to Lander from out west. That long range of mountains truly glistened in the bright sun. The scene of the brilliant blue sky and the snow-packed mountains was magnificent.
Perhaps the most beautiful area during this trip was the huge box canyon known as Red Canyon, about 30 miles southeast of our home. It is a bright red, but with the new growth of green grass and those snowdrifts here and there — well, it was a sight for sore eyes. The best part of seeing it in the springtime on this trip, though, was that a dry highway passed through it. South Pass can be a bugger this time of year.
That area is also home to the vast Red Desert, which is one of the largest unfenced areas in the United States. Its basin is unique because the Continental Divide splits and goes around it, and there is an assumption is that no water leaks out of it, headed either east to the Atlantic Ocean or west to the Pacific Ocean. In the spring, though, the area should be called the Green Desert, as it truly blooms.
Outside of Wyoming in much of the United States, spring is a time of tilling the soil, putting out flower plants, and long walks in short-sleeved shirts.
Now here, spring often offers something quite different. Wyoming’s other seasons are quite predictable. For example:
Summer features long sun-filled days, low humidity, the bluest skies in America and cool, wonderful nights. It is a time of golf and camping. It is a time of enjoying five hours of daylight after work and birds chirping in the crisp, early-morning air.
Fall is when the famous brown and gold of Wyoming comes to light. Many visitors and newcomers are often disappointed in the over-abundance of these colors in our landscapes. Veteran Wyomingites feel just the opposite. Many people actually prefer fall as their favorite season. It is also time for the annual hunting trip, which means heading to the upper country or the high prairies.
Winter is snowy with long nights, wind chills, and closures of mountain passes and major highways. It is a time for snowmobiling, skiing, and watching football and basketball on television. It is a time when we all bundle up and make sure we are prepared for any emergency.
But springtime in Wyoming, wow! Normally it is mud season, but it’s not so bad so far. Our fierce winds have dried things out in the valleys.
Temperatures have soared into the 70s, and it is balmy much of the time. April is actually our wettest month of the year, with lots of wet, heavy snow.
I once heard an expression by a T.V. weather reporter, who kept referring to their all-time record cold weather as coming after they had had a “false” spring.
My favorite way to describe Wyoming’s four seasons is: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction.
Lander’s Del McOmie shared a funny weather description that he found on the “Wyoming Going Blue” Facebook page. It included one really cool season called “sprinter,” which I think is now.
Meanwhile up in Jackson, where they had record snow this winter, a huge pile of snow is causing concern. It is the result of 12,000 dump truck loads of snow, and it is gradually melting.
It has been named “what in the Sam Hill” after Sam Jewison, the public works director. He is hoping it will be melted by Memorial Day.
Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books. His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.