Driving up to the cabin last week, all was calm until I came around the corner in the South St. Vrain Canyon and all the trees started shaking. It wasn’t an earthquake but the winds that have become synonymous with the Allenspark area. It’s not for nothing that the local newsletter is called the Allenspark Wind. With almost no snow this December, it’s becoming clear this is the season of winds.
In winter, Mount Meeker and the nearby Wild Basin area are almost constantly shrouded in clouds of snow blowing off the peaks. In other directions, the clouds are pulled apart, like taffy, by the winds (above). At the cabin last week, the winds blew all day and night, never slowed down, never paused to catch their breath, and in the morning were still going strong. In the big gusts, the whole cabin creaks, as if all its joints were loose. When I hear a particularly large gust, I imagine the metal roof being blown off in one piece, landing in the side yard on top of the propane tank.
I hiked up the road at Wild Basin, the winds making the trees dance with abandon, pulling and pushing, their tops swaying back and forth. The St. Vrain River was only partially covered with ice. The creek must have frozen over at one point, but then the warm weather had opened it up again, so huge blocks of ice had sunk down and partially crashed into each other (right).
In other places along the river, I could see the water running swiftly under a thin layer of ice, like looking through thick glass, the river slightly distorted. As it pushes up against the ice, it makes a somewhat muffled but melodious sound.
In an open field, a stalk of grass pushed by the wind had created a piece of natural art: a half circle where the hand of the wind had dragged the grass back and forth across the white canvas of snow (below).
Walking down the road that has become a winter trail, I heard the loud roar, the wind streaming through a thousand trees on the mountainsides. As it got closer, it picked up steam, and then finally punched me with huge gusts while the noise reached a crescendo, only to pull back briefly while it gathered itself again. Accompanying the roar was the sound of trees rubbing against each other, one tree fallen against another, a high-pitched sound that only adds to the general sense of mayhem.
A lot of people hate the wind, and when it’s so strong that the house shakes, it can set my teeth on edge. But being out on the trail, the world felt alive and powerful, and I felt energized. The world was roaring and pushing me along. I couldn’t resist.