Monday, July 20, 2009

Updated July Reports

I have updated the July news and information report and access and conditions map. I've also added the August prospective report and moved July to the list of monthy reports.

This is early, especially for me since I'm usually late, but August is a lot of the same of July into mid-to-late August and changing into early fall mode late in the month through the Labor Day holiday. This is the general trend, and easily things could change either way, but not really until late August and into September. Until then mid-to-late July blends into mid-to-late August as the snowpack continues to melt in the upper elevations and trails begin to clear, including the Wonderland Trail.

So, what's different so far? Well, for one snow is almost completely gone below 5,000 feet and melting quickly up to 6,000 feet. This means the alpine meadows are snow-free and blooming, so wildflowers abound. But then so are the BUGS. Their peak season is mid-July to mid-August. They're gone after the first freezing night (check temperatures at the Paradise snow course) in August.

And people equally abound. It's common for the parking lots at Paradise and Sunrise to fill by late morning during the week and mid-morning weekends. The NPS has a free shuttle from Ashford to Longmire and Paradise, so if those are your destinations, it's a good choice. Otherwise, the same applies to the many trailheads along the highways through the NP.

So the word is simply "Go Early" and be prepared for crowds at the visitors centers and the first mile or so of trails. All of this tails of during August as family vacations ends but spikes during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The best time for wildflowers and waterfalls is now through early August and the best time for hikes, is mid-to-late August when the days are shorter, temperatures cooler, and more importantly, the bugs almost gone.

Anyway, that's the update for now.

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