On the river: When in doubt, adapt | AspenTimes.com

On the river: When in doubt, adapt

ASPEN – Here’s the thing about summer in Aspen: You never really know what you’re going to get until it’s here.

Some years, the monsoons bring big, booming storms to our valley every afternoon. In other years – like this one – hardly a drop of rain falls (and yes, this year is an extreme example with just 0.01 inches of precipitation in the rain gauge at the Aspen water plant so far this month).

And some years, there is so much runoff from heavy winter snows that the rivers spill over their banks, and running them by raft, kayak or tube is nearly impossible.

Alas, this is not such a year.

On a recent morning at the Northstar Nature Preserve, just east of town, the evidence was abundantly clear: The “beach” was about triple its normal size, the water slowed to a trickle, and emerging rocks meant that smooth sailing was not in the cards for anyone trying to float downstream.

But different is not always bad.

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The larger riverbank meant more room for relaxing in the sun, playing in the sand and pretending we were at a real, tropical beach. The slow-moving water meant that even the smallest kids in our group could wade into the water safely. And while a long float downstream was not possible, it didn’t stop anyone from blowing up the inner tubes and rafts and giving it a go.

So while you might not know what you’re going to get in an Aspen summer, it’s a safe bet that whatever it is, it will be fun. If not, you’re probably not thinking outside the box.

At least that’s the logic I am going with this weekend, when we go camping without the campfire in an area with “recent bear activity” signs posted everywhere.

Wish us luck.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com