Snow in June
A couple weeks ago, during one of my so-called "bachelor weekends," I decided to ascend Granite Mountain. It's among my favorite trails: beautiful, tough and - best of all - a little over an hour from my front door. I've completed it too many times to count.
At the trail head (1,850'), my car's thermometer read 48 degrees, which was a nice complement to the light rain that had been falling since last September. (I love to make fun of the Pacific Northwest.)
I started the run slow. I was two weeks into my Massanutten 100 recovery and my legs were happy to make their grievances known. Still, I passed a handful of hikers on the way up. Without exception, every encounter included some variant of "hello" from all parties involved.
Around 2,800', the rain turned to sleet. Then, somewhere around 3,200', the sleet turned to snow. By 4,000', I was running in a bona fide snowstorm. At the summit, just above 5,600' the snow subsided and gave way to a partly sunny sky. The clouds were moving quickly, which afforded those of us at the summit an occasional blast of sun. Reflected off the snow, the sunshine made it almost feel like summer.
And, with that, I had officially travelled through three of four seasons in my 3,800' climb.
When I first moved to Seattle, in the fall of 2012, I kept a tally of consecutive months in which my feet touched snow. My streak ended about two years later, when a relatively dry winter translated into a summer virtually devoid of snowpack on trails. At some point in the ensuing four years, I had completely forgotten about this little mental exercise.
All it took was an unexpected June snow to refresh the memory. I suppose now is as good a time as any to restart the count.