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T his summer, my goal has been to get through the summer.

Like those skiers who pine for snow and first frost, or those kayakers who pray for all of that snow to melt and lament the dry season, I’ve spent the hot months — months! Ugh! — feeling as though my poor little climbers’ soul was melting a little too rapidly inside of one season. It feels unhealthy and sad, like those glaciers in the Alps that are receding in the summer way faster than winter can give back.


Wasting, because heat is not a climbers’ friend. Your shoes don’t stick. Your fingertips cook into barbecued bison burgers. Sweat oozes from every pore, yet you try to stay calm, hold it together and please, please, just stay stuck to rock.

Why can’t the salt in sweat act like glue, or perhaps produce some nifty chemistry — like molecular Velcro?

Before this summer, I used to think of those pining-for-cold skiers: What’s their deal? There’s so much to do in Colorado. Why let the other seasons go to waste? There’s no reason not to enjoy and appreciate each and every season.

I was an outdoors egalitarian.

But this summer, under a ubiquitous blanket, pinned down by the Front Range’s hottest August on record — but not stoking enough of a fire to get myself onto some alpine climbs high away in the park — I’m chagrined to admit that my philosophy on enjoying our outdoors in every single season has baked into a warped version of its former self.

I can’t take the heat. Little climber soul wants out of the kitchen. She loves climbing best in the fall, winter and spring.

Now, the long weekend approaches that marks an end to the summer — not according to the solstice, or the school year, but according to a feeling. It’s the feeling of summer as a season off, a season of vacations and extended weekends, a season appropriate for our hottest August ever, but misplaced in September. And I realize this weekend that in my constant cowering from the heat, I have, in a way, missed the summer and didn’t live up to that egalitarian philosophy.

I’ve spent too much of the summer looking ahead to fall. It feels like a loss. And it feels like I’ve done a really, really lousy job of living in the moment and loving it all.

Here with the Weekend Ticklist, I usually tell you about things going on around Boulder and beyond. But this long weekend, which is sort of the last of the summer, I’ll instead implore you to get out there and do anything you missed out on this summer.

Maybe this wasn’t your favorite season, either. But so what? This weekend, make your best last-ditch effort to get out and hike that fourteener you never got around to, finally go alpine bouldering (the new book by Jamie Emerson is out!), or go do that big hike in the high country that you didn’t manage to do. Go do it before it snows!

No regrets.

I could list at least five things I wish I’d done this summer. Maybe it’s more like 17. Or 71. At the top of the list, though, is living in the moment, versus focusing on that feeling that I’m Gretel in the witch’s oven. I can’t make up for 71 missed opportunities this weekend. But by changing my mind and going out to enjoy a long weekend in Colorado’s outdoor glory, I can cross off at least one.

Or maybe 17.

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