- Cows stretched on the grass, grooming themselves like cats. Really.
- The weather phenomenon called "virga," defined as snowfall that evaporates before it hits the ground (defined here not by Wikipedia, but by Bill the server when I asked him "what's this virga thing I keep hearing about?" one day at the restaurant. Chef overheard us and, the next day, told me to hurry up onto the deck. "Look! That's virga!" he said excitedly, pointing at some mist hanging between us and the Divide. "I dunno. It looks like mist to me." "No, no, it's virga." "How can you tell?" "I know virga." "It looks like mist to me." "It's virga.").
- Guys wearing cowboy hats and boots standing in line at the local supermarket in pairs, each guy pushing or pulling a cart piled high with frozen pizzas, beer and canned goods. After eavesdropping on a few of them, I realized they were actual cowboys stocking up on provisions to take back to the summer ranch now that the herds had relocated for the warmer months.
And I still say "Actual Cowboy" is an excellent name for a band.
- Driving in bright sunshine and 70 degrees, noticing a car coming toward you covered in snow, a hint of what's about two miles ahead.
- Rain and hail storms that last about 30 seconds but, as they track eastward, catch on the tips of the mountains and gather over Boulder and Denver, just on the other side. I've been trying to capture this with my camera, because it is So. Cool. The storm clouds bunch up and turn black right on top of the mountains, while where I am, it's cloudless and bright sun, even though it's only a couple miles away. It's like being in Minas Tirith and looking across the fields of Pelennor to Mordor.
- Swimming in the indoor pool of the Y of the Rockies, where the wall nearest the lap swim lane is solid glass, and being able to look out the window and see nothing but clouds that are noticeably closer than they are at sea level. It's like swimming in the indoor pool of the Y of Bespin.
- Swimming anywhere at 8500 feet above sea level is it's own special experience. When you come up for air, your lungs fill, but not with anything useful. It's like thinking you're drinking heavy cream but instead you get a mouthful of skim milk, only instead of butterfat you're missing it's oxygen.
- Planning a hike up around the cool igneous tertiary dyke rock formation I found a couple months ago, I was thwarted by a rushing stream between me and the rock. It was too deep and too swift not just for me, but definitely for AdventureDog. So instead we wandered off into the woods of the Never Summer Wilderness Area, found an old, old logging road (so old that the saplings springing up between the wheel ruts were twice as tall as me) and, after following moose and mountain lion tracks, found another, more eroded igneous dyke caused by a lava flow (the Never Summer Mountains are the only volcanic range in the Rockies).
A shot of my geologic obsession (torrent of snowmelt at its feet not visible):
The second wall we found:
AdventureDog, with the wall in the background. His hindquarters are wet because he fell into a stream while drinking water and couldn't get out. Good thing I was wearing my waterproof pants, because I had to go in to get him out. But he still seemed to enjoy himself.