Hi, I’m Sam and I live in a desert

By on June 26, 2013

To some this is obvious and to others it may come as a surprise, but I do in fact live in a desert. Denver receives an average of 15.81 inches of precipitation a year, with the wettest months being May (2.32 inches) and July (2.16 inches) and the driest months being January (0.51 inches) and December (0.63 inches). According to the University of Nevada Las Veags, that qualifies Denver, and the surrounding mountains, as alpine/tundra deserts. 

Despite the facts, I sometimes forget this fact. Sometimes, like in early May when we were still getting snow storms and the grass was bright, vibrant green underneath all the fluffy white stuff, it was easy to imagine that I lived in a lush, temperate region. Now that the rain has stopped falling and most of the snow has melted (most of the rivers reached their peak about 3 weeks ago), all that was once green is now brown. Not the pretty browns of fall, but the dull, muted browns of dying land. That’s not hard to believe when the weather for today currently looks like this:

And the forecast for today and tomorrow looks like this:

Yes the forecast actually says “hot”, not “sunny”, not “partly cloudy”, just “hot”. The low humidity (12% today is actually pretty high compared to the past couple days when the highest it reached was 8%) and hot conditions are breeding grounds for the fires burning throughout the state. 

Both pictures of Ward Gulch fire outside 
Rifle, CO taken on the drive west last Thursday

These conditions aren’t exactly ideal for exercising outside either. As shown above, the temperature drops approximately 30 degrees from the high heat of 3pm to the cool nighttime temperatures. This means that between the hours of 7pm and 9am it is actually tolerable to be outside for long periods of time. And by tolerable, I mean I’m not tempted to tear off all my clothing and jump into the Platte River, risking both my health and the chance that I’ll be arrested for public nudity. I don’t think the police officer will accept “but said it was hot today” as an excuse!

With this in mind, I set off on a run this morning with the pup. I had planned on running 6-7 miles but then remembered I had a meeting at 8 am so the plan was shortened to 4 miles. By the time I got out the door, a little later than planned (thank you snooze button), the cool morning air had started to warm. By the first mile mark, I was already regretting my decision to run without a water bottle and had dried sweat stains down the face. By mile 2, Moose looked like he wanted to curl up in the shade and sleep (as long as the shade was far away from the water – he escaped yesterday when I tried to get him to cool off in the river and I spent 5 minutes chasing him through Riverfront Park). Mile 3 came right outside of REI where they were serving free breakfast burritos for the “bike to work” people. I took one look at my poor puppy, panting helplessly next to me, and decided that I would call the run at 3 miles (it ended up being 3.5 by the time I made it back to the apartment), grab my bike, and pretend to be a bike commuter so I could get a free burrito.

Free breakfast sign – not the one I stopped at though

I have big plans of running this afternoon (after 7pm when the weather cools and I’m back from happy hour) but we’ll see if that happens. If not, I promise I will go to bed early, wake up with my alarm, and run my full 6-7 miles tomorrow, probably without Moose. This will definitely happen, as long as the book I’m reading doesn’t get too good precisely at my bedtime, which is what happened last night.

But for now I’m off to get some free beer and food at the awesome “bike to work day” party outside my apartment building (hey! I think “drive to work and bike to bar” counts!) and then I’m heading uptown to enjoy drown my heat-induced woes in pitchers of margarita with some lovely ladies!

Also, check out what I got in the mail today! One free chick-fil-a sand which a month until Septber!