Just back from three days in Utah and winter's end: patches of snow melting into rivulets flowing into streams and ponds, rushing over beaver dams in need of rebuilding. Out hiking yesterday morning I stepped onto what looked like hard snow and my leg plunged down a foot or two--I was walking on a log over a gully. The dogs ran out on the ice of the beaver ponds, barking at ducks swimming in a melted bit of the pond, and both of them went right through the ice and had trouble getting back up onto solid ice. Elk meandered through empty fields between houses and horses. The sagebrush looks bedraggled, the high cold desert bare and grey-brown, with just the odd small yellow wildflower popping up.

We left the coast in the middle of a heat wave and have returned to rain. But it's still bare feet weather.