We are entering one of our favorite times of year, autumn. The schools are back in session, vacations are over and the lighthouse will soon be switching to winter hours. We still have a lot of nice weather to look forward to, and for us we are remembering the snow and cold of Colorado that we used to have to deal with.
In our younger days we looked forward to winter in Colorado because we were only an hour or two from the best skiing in the country. When I was 12 years old, I discovered skiing and every Saturday you would find me at Geneva Ski Basin just outside of Denver. For 10 bucks, I would get ski rentals, a ride on the ski bus, a half-day lesson, an all-day lift pass and a cup of hot chocolate for the ride home.
Things have changed; today a ski outing would cost you about $250 for the same day of skiing. And for that you would get to spend about two hours each way parked on Interstate 70 between Metro Denver and the mountains. It is much harder to be a ski bum today.
A Crescent City winter
Last winter, Denver had record snowfall that closed the airport and shut down the city for days. At the lighthouse, we had 17 snowflakes land on our picnic table one morning. What we missed in snow we made up for in wind. A light winter breeze in town translates to gale winds at Battery Point. Fortunately, the lighthouse has granite walls almost 2 feet thick and we stay pretty toasty inside.
We do need to be stocked up on supplies because we could go a week or more with high tides or high surf keeping us on the island. However, even bad weather can be nice at the lighthouse with beautiful steely-gray skies as a back drop for white-capped ocean waves and sea smoke (fog) settling around the rocks off shore. When the winds are out of the west, which is most of the time, we get waves breaking on the rocks outside the radio room. At that time, we are thankful for the 2-foot thick walls. We don't even hear the storms.
When I lost my first hat walking up the hill to the lighthouse, I figured I could measure the kind of winter we had by the number of lost hats. Fortunately, my lost hat was found so I had to admit it was not all that bad of a winter. This year, we have the benefit of a winter under our belts so we are anticipating no real problems.
Randy Ansley, the Battery Point Lighthouse keeper, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.