The Black Hills region - she"s a fickle beauty. Especially when it comes to weather and the changing of the seasons.
We"re officially more than a week into spring, but earlier this week, it looked more like mid-winter throughout the Black Hills and surrounding areas. Snow and freezing rain fell, creating a frosty landscape that looked like a scene you would see on a holiday greeting card.
Despite Old Man Winter"s best efforts to hang on a bit longer, Mother Nature is sending signals that spring really is here in the Black Hills. Admittedly, I"m out and about exploring the hills more often than many, but during just the past couple of weeks, I"ve seen countless signs of spring that have me convinced winter may be on its way out.
Some of the most convincing, natural signs of spring that I"ve encountered so far include:
- Bridal Veil Falls in Spearfish Canyon is visibly flowing again
- Mountain Bluebirds are flitting about the region
- Western Meadowlarks are singing their songs from fence posts and treetops
- Bighorn sheep lambs have already been spotted
- Female bison are HUGE; the first bison calves of the season are expected to be born any day now
- Grouse are starting their seasonal mating dances
- stuff with tail-feathers fanned wide, in hopes of impressing the hens
- Many of the eagles and other raptors that winter here have started their migrations back out of the region
And, a few "non-natural" reasons I can tell it"s spring in the hills:
- Black Hills snowmobile trails officially close today (March 31)
- The number of motorcycles and convertibles is steadily increasing on our winding roads
- Spring maintenance galore has begun on many of the local mountain bike trails
- Even with snow on the ground, rock climbers are back out on the granite and limestone routes
There are many more ways to tell that the seasons - they are a changin". Keep your eyes peeled and your ears alerted to what"s around you in the next few weeks. There are some very cool sights and sounds to experience here in this paradisaical place called the Black Hills.