The peak of summer is one of my favorite benefits of living in Durango! July brings us Music in the Mountains, humming birds galore, paddle boarding, and high country hiking. As the green gets greener, flowers bloom, and the best of summer arrives, I love to reflect on my favorite things. Each summer, I am reminded how grateful I am to work in my mountain town!
Music in the Mountains
For over 30 years, Music in the Mountains has produced an exceptional summer music festival with musicians of the highest caliber. Each year, the huge tent, erected at the base of Purgatory Ski Resort, houses an orchestra to join beautiful music and views. More than 100 world-renowned musicians entertain audiences of all ages during the three week festival. Pops Night Benefit and Concert is one of my favorite events where we can enjoy the Pops Orchestra with a professional performer and dinner; wine; and live and silent auctions. It still amazes me that we get to experience this caliber of professionals on a mountain hillside in Durango!
As we speak, I am making a new batch of sugar water for them! These tiny birds slurp up the entire feeder every day! One of my favorite ways to end a busy day is to sit on my patio and watch these little guys buzz all around; it is not usually for 20 birds to swarm my feeder taking turns. Some nights, we notice the occasional “bully” bird who buzzes off the others. Apparently, humming birds are vulnerable to starvations with such fast metabolisms. They are highly attuned to food sources and want to ensure there is enough for themselves. (Sometimes, this makes me think of my daughter, who swims for the University of Hawaii, and how watching her eat also amazes me!) Regardless, I love make sure all the humming birds get enough and watching them each evening.
Stand-Up paddle boarding in Durango is so much fun! Within 10 to 15 minutes, I can be on a beautiful lake or on the river. Haviland Lake is a great place to paddle. It’s always very convenient to pull up and put in your board. The road has plenty of parking, and not to mention, the lake is so healthy making for great bird watching. More than once, I have seen a bald eagle swoop down and pluck out its next meal.
As you could have guessed, the Animas River is also in my favorites. It can be more challenging for parking on the weekends, but if I sneak down early evening, it is a stunning way to get a little exercise and wind down my day. I never get tired of taking in the red rock mountain views and the bright blue sky.
Each year I hike Junction Creek, which connects to the Colorado Trail, as a nice warm-up to get in shape for the season. There isn’t too much elevation gain, and the creek is usually running strong in the early summer. Since the trail head is just minutes from down town, the path is just so easy to access! I start here so by July, I’m ready for my more difficult favorites.
Engineer Mountain is probably one of the most popular hikes and begins around 8,000 ft. July is an ideal month for catching a wonderful assortment of wildflowers flowers. The views are some of the best capturing the San Juan mountains, and once I reach the peak, I love to hike along the ridge and take in stunning views looking south through the valley including Electra Lake. The views atop Engineer remind me how amazing the setting is for our little mountain town!
There is so much more to say about Durango in the summer from patio dining to the peak of golf season to afternoon monsoons to the beautiful gardens they create! There isn’t another quite like this town, and I love that I get to see so much of its real estate!