To borrow a quotation from my friend Andy, “I love my back yard!” Like all of us in Summit County, stepping out my front door is all I need to do to enjoy a nice walk in the woods.
This morning’s walk was particularly radiant — not a cloud in the sky and the wildflowers are bursting! I recognize the prolific Lupine and Colorado Blue Columbine, but since I can’t carry around local garden guru Jane Hendrix in my pocket, the next best thing is a wildflower field guide. Your Summit County library has a collection of books to help us identify some of those obscure wildflowers or weeds that decorate our county. Conveniently, some of them are categorized by color to make it easy on the amateur such as me. Check one out and be on the lookout for a Mariposa Lily or Fairy Slipper. Just remember: Don’t pick the flowers!
If you want to venture a little farther than your back yard, head to the 796 section at your library. You will find loads of hiking guides, including the ever-popular “Summit Hiker” and “Vail Hiker” by Mary Ellen Gilliland. The library also has guides on the best dog hikes, the best wildflower hikes and the best hikes with kids. Go wild!
Speaking of going wild, you might like tagging along with Cheryl Strayed on her 1,100-mile personal journey in “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.” Strayed chronicles her spiral downward after the death of her mother and bravely confronts her past experiences and bad choices while hiking from the Mojave Desert to Washington State. More a memoir of redemption than a hiking guide, her story is nevertheless an adventure.
On the other side of the country, Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” is a vivid and often hilarious account of Bryson’s novice attempt to hike the trail from Georgia to Maine with an ill-equipped and out-of-shape friend.
Back here in our neck of the woods, the fire bans are a nerve-wracking reminder of how delicate our environment can be. If you missed last year’s Summit Reads book, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America,” by Timothy Egan, Smokey the Bear recommends that you drop by any of your library’s three branches in Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge and check out a copy. Love your back yard!