I spend eight to nine months out of the year thinking about, dreaming about, and all-out craving summer. I know every season has its merits and winters in Vail are magical in their own rite, but summer… oh, sweet summer.
I swear that this place literally sparkles in the summer sunlight. Everything just feels lighter, more laid-back, here in the summer, it’s a nice respite from the intensity of ski season. And I won’t lie, I don’t love snowboarding half as much as I love hiking and biking. Plus there are so many open-air concerts, farmers markets, and brunch specials to enjoy when I’m not out adventuring.
I often spend so much time daydreaming about summertime that, somewhere around February, I start to wonder if maybe I made it up, if I’ve idealized it because it’s the shortest of the seasons and, therefore, I never have a chance to get sick of it. But then it finally gets here and it’s always just as good as I remembered it; I don’t think there’s any way I could ever get sick of summer, even if it were a month or two longer (and oh how I wish it was).
So, before it’s gone again for another year, here’s what I’m loving about this particular summer.
1. Bike rides after work. I love getting outside and into nature after being cooped up at my desk all day. I separate myself from work a lot better in the summer than in the winter and spending an hour or two hiking or biking in the evening, alone or with a buddy or two, is a large part of why.
Lately, I’ve been taking my new-to-me old-school Fuji 12-speed road bike from my home at the Vail Racquet Club up Vail Pass. Not all the way to the top, just to the cul de sac a few miles up. It’s the perfect post-work ass kicker and doing it on weekdays means I avoid the lycra-on-carbon-fiber crowd so it’s also pretty peaceful (and I don’t feel badly about the fact that I’m twice as slow as your average road biker).
2. Gore Lake. And the dozens of other alpine lakes that are frozen and inaccessible except for a few sweet months out of the year. There is no place more serene than next to a high alpine lake. And getting to them is often half the fun. Gore Lake and the Gore Creek Trail that takes you there is my favorite.
I walked up there alone last week for some much-needed reflection time. It was the longest hike I’ve ever done by myself and it was very good for me to be out there alone with my thoughts, even when my thoughts were get these f-ing hiking boots off my feet now.
3. A glass of super chilly white wine. I’m really loving the Gewurztraminer from this Paonia, Colorado winery in particular.
I was introduced to it during an afternoon of wine tasting and vineyard hopping this spring. I’ll confess that I never would have tried it – every other Gewurztraminer I’ve tried has been way too sickly sweet for my taste – had the owner of the place not poured it for me and stood by, watching and waiting for me to take a sip. I’m not going to pretend that I’m a wine connoisseur but I will tell you that I was shocked and thrilled to realize it is very dry and pleasantly crisp and smooth.
The winemaker told me that they don’t introduce any extra sugar to any of their wines, hence its dryness. It’s absolutely delightful, perfect for sipping with cheese and good friends on a lazy Sunday next to a river, which is how I recently enjoyed it.
4. A slower pace at work. I’m the Executive Director for this Vail nonprofit and we focus the bulk of our programming (two-hour speaker events) in the winter. We’re doing about half of the amount of programs this summer than we did last winter and, while I do draw energy from the chaos and intensity of expediting one or more programs a week from December through April, there’s no way I could keep it up year-round.
I’m relatively new to this position and I’m learning that the summer is my time to re-energize creatively, to make and expedite plans for growth (both for myself and the organization), and to really focus on my work-life balance.
5. Pool time. The Vail Racquet Club has one of the best pools in town and I’ve had more than a couple naps next to it so far this summer. The very best part is the poolside view: nothing but mountains, forest and waterfalls!
Tell me: What are you loving about this summer?