Getting a taste of a few days of summer

I felt summer hit at about 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, out along the South Fork of the Snake River near Wolf Flats.

It wasn’t a long summer. It only lasted till the following Wednesday. A four-day summer.

By the next day (Sunday) people were hunting for shorts and sunglasses. On Monday the roads were sprouting bicycles — Dave’s Bike Shop held its first Monday evening group ride.

“It’s the first time this year the weather has been good enough,” Dave Wilding said.

I joined that Monday night ride and thought I was doing great hangin’ with the A-minus riders (or the B-plus riders depending on your point of view). Then I got a flat tire. At least I wasn’t the guy who crashed on his bike and was knocked out briefly. Bike and rider are reportedly doing fine.

On Tuesday I was seeing kids playing in front yard sprinklers to beat the summer heat — it was 75 degrees.

By Wednesday, I overheard people talking about planting their gardens. “I’m just going to do it,” they said, “and hope it doesn’t frost again.”

But speaking of frost, on Thursday and Friday, summer vanished and low temperatures dropped back down into the 30s. Summer is predicted to return this coming week, at least for a few days.

The on-again, off-again nice weather has allowed me to get outside and do some hiking, biking and rock climbing.

I’m trying to whip my old man’s body into shape for the upcoming Tour of Marsh Creek Valley century ride planned this coming weekend in Pocatello. They also have a shorter 26-mile loop and a 60-mile loop offered. Find information on the ride at

Also, this coming weekend is the Angry Horse gravel bike ride and race in the Bone area. Three distances are offered. For information on that event, go to

Trail-running friends reported that the Upper Palisades Lake along the popular Palisades Creek Trail was still partially frozen this past week. Expect plenty of snow on the trail above the lake going into Waterfall Canyon.

Grand Teton National Park closed the Baxter’s Pinnacle area to public entry to protect nesting peregrine falcons.

The Baxter’s Pinnacle area is on the west side of Jenny Lake in the park backcountry. The closure also includes the social trail that branches from the horse trails and serves as the approach route to the pinnacle that is popular with rock climbers. The closure usually lasts at least through June unless the birds abandon the nests early.

The park has lifted its winter wildlife closure protecting bighorn sheep habitat.

“Conditions in the backcountry remain winter-like,” the park blog said last week. “The valley trails are in difficult shape, with significant snow coverage throughout and many lakes are still partially covered in ice. Above 8,000’ the Teton Range remains in full winter conditions. Travelers should be cautious while traveling in the backcountry, and be prepared to deal with elevated avalanche danger during warm afternoons and when overnight lows remain above freezing.”

If you don’t mind sleeping in the snow, you can get backcountry camping permits at the park’s visitor center at Moose, Wyoming. The center also has up-to-date information on park trail conditions.

Jerry Painter is a longtime East Idaho journalist and outdoorsman.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *