Bulbs, Birds and Babbling Brooks

Spring’s official birthday is in March, but some years winter is reluctant to make an exit, and bulbs optimistically send out green shoots only to be surprised by spring snow. Mountain residents awaiting spring’s return are thrilled to hear water flowing in streams and a red-winged blackbird’s song—or, better yet, to see a hummingbird, summer’s harbinger.

As soon as the ice melts, lakes and streams invite folks to tube, paddleboard, fish, boat, canoe, raft and, my favorite, kayak. There’s nothing like paddling around String Lake in Grand Teton National Park and taking the portage over to Leigh Lake, where solitude on a sunny afternoon awaits. Sometime the water is ice cold, but not enough to deter me from splashing around. More spring lake fun can be found at North America’s largest alpine lake (that never freezes), Lake Tahoe; our travel article Pedaling Leisure in Lake Tahoe checks out the increasingly hip outdoorsy scene on the lake’s sometimes overlooked southern shore.

Photo by Gibeon Photography

Whether a pond is man-made or nature-made, water adds interest to a landscape. Situated on Lake Tahoe (pictured above), near Whitefish Lake, on a pond in Jackson Hole and on a stream near Bozeman, the featured homes in our May/June 2017 issue benefit from their proximity to water. Their designers and architects put H2O’s impact front and center, siting homes to maximize water views through strategically placed windows and picking up aquatic colors and motifs for interior elements.

“Hummingbird Collage” by Colorado artist Dolan Geiman is a paper collage on wood. Hand-cut with scissors, the papers used are vintage—some dating back to the early 1800s—and include everything from old magazines to love letters, maps, green stamps, you name it.dolangeiman.com. And you will find his work at several Mountain Living-sponsored events this summer, including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and the Aspen Arts Festival.

Who knew that a calliope hummingbird weighs the same as a penny and influenced the Wright brothers’ flight design? If you’re a bird lover like me, you will love The Wonder of Birds by Jim Robbins (Spiegel & Grau, May 2017). (Dad, if you’re reading this, do not buy the book; Father’s Day is coming soon!)

To enjoy birds (or a facsimile of them) year-round, check out this bird-cage chandelier with pretty colored birds made from real feathers. The description says: “This delightful Volières Bird Cage Chandelier is perfect for those who wish to embrace the eccentric in themselves.” Mine hangs over my kitchen table, so I must be embracing my inner eccentric! Graham and Green, grahamandgreen.co.uk

Green shoots sprouting the soil, waterside homes, hummingbird sightings… this is the stuff of summer dreams. If you’re like me, you have your kayak at the ready. Happy paddling!

P.S. Mountain Living embraces spring and summer in the mountains by sponsoring a number of events from art festivals to wine tastings. Check out our calendar of upcoming events.

Categories: On Location