Spring brings warmth, water, dog waste | AspenTimes.com

Spring brings warmth, water, dog waste

Eben Harrell

Yesterday was the first day of spring. And while the weather forecast calls for snow today, valley residents the last few weeks have noticed hints of the new season: the sun higher in the sky, an occasional warm breeze, the bubble and drip of snow melting.Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. But it’s not always as romantic as it sounds. Spring in Aspen is a re-creation of the original Creation; the town turns into a primordial soup, a stinking stew of saturated mud from which life re-emerges.One of the reasons spring turf around town is so fertile, of course, is the mind-boggling amount of canine-produced fertilization.The “smooth snow over stool” technique of winter dog-walking comes back with a vengeance this time of year, as frozen feces pops up everywhere.”It’s disgusting,” spring-breaker Jess Robbins said as she walked by Wagner Park. “I had no idea dogs could poop so much.”Already, locals are starting to talk of “offseason,” the time when residents flow downvalley to warmer destinations just like the melting snow. Moab, Utah, is a common get-away for hikers, bikers and summer-sports enthusiasts. “It’s about biking season; Moab, here we come,” eager Aspenite Will Miccio said last week.Nearby golf courses have been open for weeks, and high-elevation hackers are starting to dust off the clubs. Battlement Mesa Golf Club, Rifle Golf Club and Lakota Canyon Golf Course in New Castle all report Aspenites beginning to sprinkle down for some early rounds.”I would say 40 to 50 percent of people playing here right now are coming down from Aspen. We’re the closest 18-hole facility open right now, so we’re seeing a lot of traffic,” Lakota Canyon Golf professional Tom Underwood said.Helping spring-sports seekers are the increasingly longer days. The sun rose yesterday at 6:10 a.m. and stayed out until 6:20 p.m. That’s an hour and 12 minutes more sunlight than one month ago. And you can add an extra hour to that on April 3, when the clocks move forward one hour.In a seasonal town like Aspen, however, spring isn’t all flowers and fun. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said the so-called quiet season isn’t necessarily quiet.”We have to shift our focus. Spring is roommate theft season, end-of-winter party season and avalanche season. We also see an increase in domestic violence cases. Folks run out of money when the jobs dry up in spring and tension seems to build in relationships,” patrol director Jeff Lumsden said. “Oh yeah, and then there’s all the dog droppings.”Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com

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