Be aware—of students, trails and mushrooms

We are at a point in the season when things begin to turn and we need to pay attention.

It is just late August—still summer almost everywhere else on this continent—but here, the late-summer monsoon clouds decorate the high peaks and there is a chance some white may coat the top of our mountains in the early mornings. It will be at least another month or so before it really sticks, but the temperatures will shift 10 (or 20) degrees cooler for the highs and the lows in the upper valley so that means it is smart to always have a jacket nearby this time of year.

The school buses will begin rolling on Monday morning to pick up their little charges, so we all need to be more aware of sleepy students walking to school or to the bus stops in the early mornings or mid-afternoons. Keep an eye out as you drive the streets for tiny people with big backpacks.

The summer mayhem is mostly over and it probably pushed some people to the edge, so be aware of short fuses and overindulgence as we slowly pull back into balance.

The sun is setting earlier so be aware as those who take the after-work ride finish their trek in dusk or dark when it is difficult to see and be seen.

The flowers are seeding and the mushrooms popping. So be cognizant of what mushrooms you can safely eat and which ones can literally kill you. There are both kinds of fungi out there right now and not all are treats. The angle of the sun is creeping lower, but we now can bet on a fall Indian summer in September or October.

Here’s a big one. The use of some nearby trails changes this time of year, so be aware to respect the differences. The ever-so-wonderful Snodgrass Trail closed last Sunday when the sun set behind Red Lady. It will be closed for the season so the Allen ranching family can move cattle into the area. Please respect that closure whether you bike, hike, live nearby or run up there.

This is one of the premier trails in the upper valley and its accessibility to the general public relies on cooperation between the ranchers and the recreationalists. It is a good example of how cooperation can work. But cooperation takes respect and that means respecting the family who uses that area for its business this time of year. That trail will stay closed until sometime next spring. It was a great place to be this summer so hopefully you got on it. As I mentioned several times this week—the one thing wrong with the Snodgrass trail is that it is too short. That is a treasure for all of us, so let’s not blow it by not respecting the needs of our community partners who ranch the area.

The Gunsight Connector trail is also closed for cattle grazing right now. That trail will open up in a few weeks once the cattle are moved. But in the same spirit of cooperation, please stay off the trail for the time being. Lupine One and Lupine Two are open so if you need your fix of that ridge, stay where you are allowed.

When the leaves begin their golden change in a few weeks, trails like Strand and Doctor’s will still be there to fill your autumn soul.

Embrace the change as we start turning the corner to a new season. Shift your mind to what it offers and what you need to be aware of as we head toward…skiing.

—Mark Reaman

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