Being on the East Coast during the longest day of the year is a bit anticlimactic compared with being in the high mountains. I’ve thought about it a lot and honestly, the long days of summer in Crested Butte are as good as anywhere on the planet. Speaking of thinking (how is that for a set up transition?), I received an email last month with the subject line “Musings.” It contained some questions that must have been keeping the writer awake at night. I completely understand and can relate. I did some deep journalistic research (I sent out a few emails) and came up with some answers and a few other musings. Figured this would be good to get away from Vail while I’m at the beach this week.

Question: Why were the north and south ends of Sixth Street turned from 15 mph to 25 mph? 

Answer, courtesy of Crested Butte public works director Rodney Due: The south end of Sixth Street is actually Highway 135 and controlled by the Colorado Department of Transportation. That speed limit is determined by CDOT and not the town. The other end of Sixth Street coming in from the mountain is county, which follows CDOT rules.

Question: Who dug the trench from Washington Gulch to Pitchfork, and why?

Answer, courtesy of Gunnison County public works director Marlene Crosby: It was a water line to the Kapushion property.

Question: Where’s the “Verzuh parcel?”

Answer, courtesy of Crested Butte public works director Rodney Due: That’s the property on the east side of Crested Butte that was once a ranch owned by Tony Verzuh. It runs from Butte Avenue to Red Lady Avenue and Eighth Street to Tenth Street and is otherwise known as the Verzuh annexation.

Question: Does anyone ever get ticketed, much less towed, for parking for more than 15 minutes in the post office lot?

Answer, courtesy of Crested Butte chief marshal Mike Reily: We don’t deal with the post office lot. The postmaster is responsible for enforcement there. I do not believe they have ever ticketed or towed anyone. For a while they were putting notes on cars but I haven’t seen that yet this year. (Editor’s note: There’s a first time for everything).

Question: And what the heck does RE1J stand for, anyway?

Answer, courtesy of RE1J school district superintendent Doug Tredway: This school district was reorganized in 1961 from 29 school districts to one (RE). The (1J) is because of the fact we are joined by one other county, Saguache. There are several RE1J districts in the state. Another fact is that we are the second largest district in the state (land mass) at 3,924 square miles—larger than both Rhode Island (1,545 square miles) and Delaware (2,489 square miles)—with more than 2,000 students, which ranks us 125 out of 178 in numbers.

Okay then. Other musings…

Question: Why when we just begin to get used to summer do the days start getting shorter?

Answer, courtesy of The answer has to do with Earth’s tilted axis. In the North American summer, the North Pole is tilted towards the sun at an angle of 23.5 degrees. Because of the tilt, the northern half of the globe receives more sunlight than the south. With more of the hemisphere exposed to the sun, daylight begins earlier and ends later.

Question: Can Elk Avenue get any more crowded?

Answer, courtesy of anyone who has been here more than one summer: Yes. Wait for July.

Question: Why is it so hot at the beach?

Answer, courtesy of It is hot everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. After the vernal equinox, the Northern Hemisphere starts tilting toward the sun, giving sunrays both a more direct path to the ground and a longer time to shine as the days grow longer. The ground, surface waters and atmosphere, along with everything in between, all heat up thanks to this bonus solar energy. Up here— as air rises, the pressure decreases. It is this lower pressure at higher altitudes that causes the temperature to be colder on top of a mountain than at sea level.

Question: How did Vail pave the parking lot at the Four-way, get the cops such snazzy motorcycles, put us on the fall jazz festival circuit and build a big arts center to begin the change to slick destination resort so suddenly? 

Answer, courtesy of your Crested Butte Town Council: They didn’t. We did.

Question: Why did your girlfriend break up with you?

Answer, courtesy of the dude on the bench at Third and Elk: Like everything else bad, it’s Vail’s fault.

Okay then. So the days are getting shorter as of Friday but the days up here sure are sweet and they’ll stay that way for a while. Do not take them for granted. It may be hard to appreciate them sometimes if you are swamped in the crowds and busyness that is our “evolving” summer. But if you’ve been here long enough, you understand there are places of respite. Go to them. Enjoy them and enjoy the days. I think we will need them this year. Happy official summer, everyone.

—Mark Reaman

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