Gary Lindstrom: The middle part of summer |

Gary Lindstrom: The middle part of summer

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I call this time of the year in the High Country as the middle part of summer. It is not a calendar middle or a seasonal middle, but rather the in-between part. You know, half way from the start to the end.

I moved Colorado in 1970, more than 38 years ago from New York City. In New York City there is no summer. Time goes from wet to unbearably hot back to wet. Autumn is nice but summer is hell.

Colorado’s summer is more a representation of those outside influences’ that impact our communities, such as the timing of summer break.

Colorado schools normally end the beginning of June, but lately they are now opening earlier and earlier with some schools on the Front Range starting right after the first of August. Hardly two months of summer. Maybe eight weeks.

Eastern schools also have several longer breaks during the regular school year. They might have a week off in the fall and then two weeks at Christmas followed by one week in February and another week in April for Spring Break. I always thought that was a great idea.

Back in New York historically schools will stay in session until around the first of July. I have three children and seven grandchildren who attended school under that system.

I grew up in Iowa and we had our school schedule based on the planting and growing season. It was very important that the children were out of school to help in the fields. Early on school would get out the beginning of May and not go back into session until the beginning of September after Labor Day. I think it is different now.

I teach at Colorado Mountain College and our schedule follows the schools in Colorado. I have said this before but there are only three semesters at CMC. Fall, spring and summer. In the heart of the cold, ski country there is no Winter Semester. I don’t mind that at all. Why should we have another reminder of our long cold winter?

At CMC our Fall Semester begins the end of August and goes to the beginning of December. Just about the beginning of the serious winter season in January CMC starts the Spring Semester. Actually spring registration begins December 1 even before winter begins. Now is that the power of positive thinking? Let’s think spring and maybe the winter will go away?

The Spring Semester ends before the real spring has hardly had time to get cranked around the first part of May.

I started teaching at CMC in 1983 when the student profiles were different. Today most of my students are serious snowboarders and school is down the list of their passions. Funny how snow can help people become educated.

I suppose it is a good thing we don’t set our clocks according to all of these school calendars.

The impact here in our High Country resorts is that summer is almost finished. The Front Range visitors are gradually making their way down the mountain to all of the back-to-school sales for last-minute shopping trips.

Our eastern visitors just got here, but are seriously thinking about heading home because their schools start in just a couple of weeks also. One more raft trip or one more day hike and then pack up the car, rob a bank for gas money and then off to home again.

I say this every year, but we do have a major secret we try to keep from every one from New York or Iowa or the Front Range. The truly best part of the entire year is not the winter. It is not the summer. It is the time after all of the tourists go home after the first of September, and we are left with our beautiful fall and the solitude to enjoy the best place on this Earth. Of course, we don’t count the Aspen turning period when a lot of people come back. By the way, that happens normally around the 15th of September ” only six weeks away.

Six weeks!

Gary Lindstrom has lived in Summit County since 1974 and is a retired police officer and a recovering politician. He can be contacted at

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