'Tis the season for fattening up

On our calendar, we see the Millpond Music Festival is coming up this weekend, signaling either the end of summer or the beginning of fall.

Whatever. One thing is for certain: the fall shoulder season is here, and all around us, everyone is fattening up.

The bears are getting more plump, for sure, and as they lumber through the town, they no doubt notice with disheartening alarm that the sloppy visitors are gone and the dumpsters are secure again. Bummer for them, we suppose.

Bike shops are turning into ski shops. Around here, that’s like aspens turning. Time is getting short.
Remember 2004, when the fall hiking season got snuffed out early because of 85.6 inches of snow in October? That was the year that Mammoth Mountain recorded 570.1 inches for the season. We remind ourselves: October is just two weeks away.

The scrub jays, smarty-pants that they are, are gathering their winter stashes, hiding them carefully on account of the other scrub jays, who are noted thieves, through and through.

The bike park is done for the year after this weekend, and wow that was one short season.

We were listening to the hoot-hoot-hoot of the owls coming out of the trees and snags at the Valentine Reserve the other night, and wished them luck in their last sure month of easy pickings. After the first snow, it’ll get harder for them.

Gotta remember to put the snow shovel back in the car, check the treads on the tires and make sure the chains haven’t been taken out during the course of the summer.

Cold nights are coming, and the southern sky is changing shape in a hurry. In the north, old Orion is in full sprint across the sky, headed south and maybe hoping for a better view of the Leonids meteor showers, Nov. 17, and the more spectacular Geminids, on Dec. 13.

We wonder what it will be like on those last three Huskies football games at home, Oct. 27 against Vasquez, Nov. 5 against Desert Christian and Nov. 12 against Silver Valley, all at night, all in snow season. Home field advantage?

In Little Lakes Valley, the summer’s bright green is quickly turning to burnt orange and varying shades of rusts and ochres.

The water’s low, but there’s still good fishing for us two-footers.

Mule deer are in migration, dodging traffic on 395.

Our neighbor, Julie, wonders: “Is this the last winter I can stand here, in this cold, beautiful house, bundled to the hilt, sobbing in the front hall because no one came to plow ... again ... and I can’t get a door open in the morning for the dogs to go out? Was I always too old for this?”

Up in the high country, the cottonwoods race the aspens to see who can be the most yellow, but the aspens have a trump card with their reds and oranges. Hah!

Out on the deck, it looks like there’s enough firewood to get us through January, maybe, but surely not enough to get us through the winter. Order now? Wait until January? A quandary.

Yes, it is the shoulder season here in Mammoth, and it’s good to be here, scrambling around among our friends, fattening up and getting ready.