Posted by: Dave Neads | July 22, 2011


Across the ARK this so-called summer has been the coldest, wettest, cloudiest in living memory.  The tomatoes and squashes huddle in our greenhouses, waiting for just a bit of sun that will allow the fruits to ripen.  Guide outfitters have had to cancel trips, resorts have lost bookings, roads have flooded, loggers have been “mudded out”,  most rancher’s hay fields are under water and the mosquitoes are in heaven.

In one sense it does not matter why this is happening.  It could be variation in weather pattern; it could be global climate change but whatever the cause, the effects are real and immediate.  The ARK is large enough that usually weather shifts across its length, with sun at one end and rain at the other but this year, the whole ARK has been subject to the torrential rains and unseemly cold days.

The snow line is still down to the tree line, with twice as much snow as usual covering the landscape.  One wonders how the delicate flowers will survive this perpetual snow, the year of the non-summer.  But then I’m sure this is not the first time this has happened in ARK’s long history.  Resilience is in the genes of the plants and animals who live in the ARK; over the millennia all manner of strategies have evolved to cope with a huge range of conditions.

This is one of the real values of the ARK: It is a proving ground for testing existing and emerging adaptations in a more and more rapidly changing climate.

Next year, the snow will melt back into more usual patterns and the flowers buried now will bloom again.  And who knows, there may even be a new configuration of exquisite beauty to greet the senses.



  1. Dave, some of us are loving this wonderful cool weather with lots of white precip in the high country…

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