When we have asked the question, “What is your favorite month?” the two overwhelming favorites of locals are inevitably September and June. With the Labor Day weekend on hand, we are on the cusp of one of the best ones.
September is a time to breathe after the busyness that July and August have become. The sun sits in a different spot in the sky. The light is shifting, the sky a different color blue. The morning frost is back, as the geese are beginning their trip south. The elk will begin bugling soon. The colors on the ground have begun to turn red and the gold will follow.
September allows us to regain our mountain village footing. The crowds thin and the parking spaces open up. The young families in line at the restaurants turn into older couples enjoying a drink at a table on the street. We do not need to work seven days a week but we can still get a paycheck. There is time to linger outside the post office and chat or you can take that journey on the Baxter Gulch trail you have thought about all summer but passed by when the trailhead was choked with vehicles.
Pretty much at every Crested Butte election, I implore those seeking to lead the community to not work to turn September into July. I don’t know if that is really possible given school holidays, but the campaign mantra of promising to “fill out the shoulder seasons” drives me a little nuts. There are places where September is as busy as July and it seems to me most of us choose not to live there. Frankly, November can be that busy and I wouldn’t care, but good luck with that. September is special. It brings comfortable days, crisp nights and the pop in weekend business that keeps the economy on balance. In September we can begin to dream of powder.
An average September day in Crested Butte is as good as the best day in most other places. So get out and take it in. September is a treat and it is a time to get back in the rhythm of why we live here. It’s not about the dollars. It is the glory of the backcountry, the chance to reconnect with the people who have been busy working doubles, the chance to feel the blessing of living in a high mountain valley.
So while I will miss a few of the sweetest Crested Butte days in September on a long-planned trip, you shouldn’t. Walk away from the desk and get out in the middle of these days. September is one of the best months in a place where there aren’t many bad months (maybe a few challenging weeks in early November or late April).
Enjoy this September and really, let’s not work to turn it into July.