Snow falls here in Vail, Colorado while autumn lingers elsewhere. I just returned from a five-day road trip to Moab, Utah, and on the way back to Vail, the highway signs warned that semis were required to chain up on Vail Pass. That meant it was snowing up there, a thought hardly imaginable after mountain biking in 70-degree weather. This phrase—dog days—refers to the long days at the end of the summer when the afternoons seem to go on forever. Ancient Romans thought that the presence of Sirius, or the Dog Star, caused the long, hot days of late summer, and they also thought that the presence of the Dog Star, which rose before sunrise, made dogs go crazy, wine spoil, and seas boil. It’s past late-summer now, but a few recent afternoons outdoors have had that lazy, long summer day feel.
I met up with a few folks to climb at the Avalon area of Boulder Canyon, and their dogs tagged along. This beautiful Australian Shepherd mix with blue eyes (above, right) was my favorite, and I loved they way the dogs just dove belly-first into the creek to cross while we gingerly stepped along the stones:
We sport climbed in the sun at Avalon’s Three Walls area (pictured below), a few chilled-out pitches on nice bolted rock. As it normally goes, I hopped on something that was easy to start, then led one route closer to my limit, then tried another that spit me off.
All in all, the climbing was good fun, and the company equally pleasurable. I think there were six of us total and at least three dogs scratching around in the shade.
I wish that all afternoons could be like these: warm, relaxed, and fun. But then I look up at the mountains here, silently getting blanketed with snow, and I think maybe I could drop the “warm” and just go with relaxed and fun.