April in Ouray is a time of Peaceful Preparation.
Winter clings to the San Juans as Spring begins to awaken. Little snow showers are interspersed with flashes of green, as the new season struggles to the surface. Shops and restaurants begin the process of cleaning out the taste of Winter, and anticipation is in the air.
Everywhere you look, signs of the changing of the season are apparent, even as Winter displays her strength one last time. Newborn calves dot the fields, little specks of white and black, teetering on brand new legs behind their mothers. Spotted fawns can be glimpsed as they explore the great new world around them. Bear begin to stretch and stir as the warm weather reminds them of empty bellies, and foxes cavort in the streets when they think no one is watching.
Snow boots and thick winter jackets aren't quite put into retirement yet. Although the Ice Park has closed, there are still a variety of outdoor activities to be found. Hiking trails are beginning to dry out, but places to cross country ski or snow shoe still abound, often on the same trail. Eventually, the snow will turn to rain as the sun shines into the evening hours and warms the air, allowing more access to the high country.
Soon the river will swell and seasonal waterfallslace the mountains as snow melts from the mountaintops. The roaring boom as tons of water rush through the small gap in the Box Canon Park can be heard long before it is seen, and the river itself takes on the color of the earth it is moving as it transports mineral rich soil along its path. The short hike to the hanging bridge above the gorge is well worth it for a view of the river and town in the height of Spring.
Soaking in the natural hot spring tubs at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs during the change of the seasons is a spectacular experience. Steam fills the air and creates a surreal world of wonder when enjoying an early morning soak. Deer roam mere feet away from bathers, turning to gaze at these strange creatures submerged in the soothing water as they enjoy a meal of warm green grass.
The beauty of Ouray in the Spring is filled with mystery, as the weather changes quickly and drastically from day to day. One might greet a morning covered in a blanket of fresh snow, and by mid afternoon be flying a frisbee in the park, almost too warm in a light sweater.