Monday, June 17, 2013

Rain, Rain...

Warning: I'm about to talk about the weather.

Around this part of the world, the weather is rarely a conversation default so much as a genuine topic. I mean, this is from an M-Hill climb in January.

These are my coworkers. They're pretty awesome.

And then in April, this happened.

This past April actually set a record for snowfall in a single month in Rapid City. We got 48 inches in the space of 24 days after a March that included multiple days of 70-degree weather. It was nutty and confusing and really, really messed up plans all the way across the state. We got snow; Sioux Falls got solid inches of ice that destroyed trees and knocked out power all over the city. (I guess I'll take the snow...)
For that matter, the record for the most freakish temperature change is held by Spearfish, an hour northwest of here. In 1943, the temperature rose from -4 to 45 degrees (Fahrenheit) in two minutes' time. This is a glass-breaking, body-shocking change. Moreover, while that's the record on the books, it is not abnormal to flip from heat to air conditioning and back again on a regular day in May or June (or August or September) -- we've accepted our temperamental weather and can cope with it. Mostly.
However, this summer is a new experience for me. My college memories of summers out here are all drought-related; it was dry and hot each summer I spent in the Hills, especially in July. By the sixth week of camp, we were lucky if we could still have campfires.
But this year is different.
This year, we've had steady rain. It's a good thing, even a relief to a certain degree, although it's the kind of thing that makes forestry folks nervous -- rain now can just mean tall dry grass come August, which makes it easy for the whole forest to go up in smoke. In the camping world, it means a lot more inside activities and a skyrocketing potential for cabin fever.
This week, it also means our first group of backpackers is getting wet. We dropped them off this morning just before the rain got started.
Moderation has never been this state's strong suit. I can only hope that they get some sunshine for the next three days...

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