Apparently, there are four seasons. Montanans are familiar with each one, no doubt. Me? Not so much. I heard rumors about fall, winter and spring growing up in California and Texas. Don’t misunderstand me: I’ve been in colder climates. How else would I have learned to ski? The thing is that it was always a short-lived dip—one to two weeks, tops—in the arctic.
One-and-a-half winters later, I am here to report that summer is welcome any time of year. Those 50-plus-degree days in January, February and March this year were all I needed to announce summer’s arrival, although I was told this winter was quite mild and that there is a season between winter and summer—spring. No matter. I pulled out my open-toed shoes and summer dresses and started eating lunch outside anyway. I was shivering, of course.
So my idea of summer has had to change.
Before, the longest day of the year—June 21—was just another day. By then, at least in Texas, we could easily have 60 or more days of 90-plus-degree temperatures. I’m not so naïve this year. Summer’s not a 10-month-long season. It doesn’t mean 100-degree temperatures. In fact, it might mean snow.
My dog, Chupete, and I attempted to hike up Bear Creek Overlook in late May or early June last year only to be thwarted by the presence of a lot of snow, enough that I couldn’t find the trail after hiking up a half mile. We went back to the car (after I let my little guy run around in the snow for a while). We returned in late July with my brother (see photo). While there wasn’t any snow on the ground, there were snowflakes—lots of them—billowing about in the howling wind. In July. Snowing in July. It was a lovely, albeit odd, gift.
This summer I’m looking forward to what I’ll encounter and try. If the articles in this issue are any indication, I’ll be surfing rivers and doing yoga on a paddleboard. C’est la vie en Montana!