Smyth Boone rides his bike regularly in the BLM land that’s adjacent to Paonia – the area popularly known as Jumbo, a network of dirt trails and loops on juniper-covered mesas. By taking photographs and using a meter on his bike, he’s got a record of the weather and conditions over about six years now. He posts regularly on iseechange at thealmanac.org. Here he talks about a special event that occurred last year, as well as the dry conditions that are only increasing.
"This year the real big highlight we had was a pair of golden eagles who had their babies on the rock face on Jumbo, and that was spectacular," said Smyth. "There’s a pair of binoculars at the very top of the ride, at the top of the trails and you can stop and look up on the cliff. You’re hundreds of yards away, so it’s pretty far still but with binoculars you can see right into the nest. We got to see the baby birds first come out of the nest then they started flying one at a time, then they started group flying. That was a really big thing this year."
"Last winter we were able to get to the grassy knoll on March 23, which is the earliest I’ve heard of, on very dry trails, which is unusual – usually those seeps and things along the northern side are quite muddy and wet late, all the way through May in general," Smyth said. "And so we’ve seen a big change there. We were also able to extend this same season until – I think December 6th was the last ride I had, all the way to the top. And that’s way past Thanksgiving, way past all three hunting seasons. So super dry, that’s what we’re seeing. It was super hot up there last year in the summer. You wanna be riding before noon at the latest, with the heat and the dry trails."
"I rode some local roads the other day on Minnesota Creek and it’s totally dry, which I’ve never seen in February." According to Smyth, "Feels like it’s drying up."