Dark clouds are brewing over the Herald Democrat’s office this morning as snow lingers on the horizon. Labor Day is old news and the aspens are beginning to turn. Summer has undoubtedly come to an end in the high country.
Under normal circumstances, smoky air, blazing sunsets and forecasts of an early September snow storm would feel apocalyptic. This year, they feel like an appropriate end to an unusual summer.
Summer of 2020 unfolded in varying degrees of normalcy. Here’s a look back at the ebb and flow of what is usually Leadville’s busiest season:
— Many local businesses fared better than expected throughout the summer months, despite COVID-19. Some industries, such as alcohol, outdoor retail and cannabis, experienced banner summers. Other industries, like food service and lodging, experienced high demand but were tied to capacity limits.
— Trails and campsites across Lake County saw high usage as locals and tourists sought pandemic-safe adventure in the outdoors.
— Infrastructure projects transpired across town. Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) updated sidewalks and traffic signals along U.S. 24 while Xcel Energy replaced natural gas service lines in West Park. CDOT will begin paving U.S. 24 this week.
— Rockies Rock Adventure Camp rang in seven years of summer fun with temperature checks, enhanced hygiene practices and a COVID-19 curriculum.
— Burros raced from Leadville to Fairplay in August, Lake County’s only official race of the season.
— First responders and customer service personnel continued to work the front lines of the pandemic amidst summer tourism traffic.
— Westwoods Subdivision and the Railyard development moved along with dirt work. The new St. Vincent Hospital facility went vertical and the Tabor Opera House began restoring the historic building’s windows and brick facade.
— Cloud City Conservation Center sold and donated greens, brassicas, herbs and cucurbits at its weekly farm market.
— Athletes from across the world climbed 100,000 feet over the course of the summer as part of a Leadville Race Series (LRS) challenge. Some came to Leadville to race LRS courses on their own.
— Wildfires blazed across Colorado in August, leading to smoky conditions in Lake County and a temporary closure of Independence Pass.
— Locals gathered along Harrison Avenue each Sunday to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
— Cloud City Wheelers built new trails on the east side of Turquoise Lake. Four of eight approved trails are currently open to mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers.
— Lake County Public Library launched the bibliobici, which brings a mobile book check-out to neighborhoods and events across Lake County.
A change in seasons often means a shift in coverage topics at the Herald. As fall encroaches, the newspaper’s staff is gearing up for the election, budget season, cross-country, a pandemic-adjusted Halloween and so much more. In the meantime, bring on the snow!