Ten Ways You Can Tell That Spring Has Sprung in Denver

Much has been written about spring, and rightly so. After all, it’s the season when the world seems to come alive again: The days grow longer, the birds return, and there’s green everywhere. (No, that’s not a marijuana reference.)

Spring might have officially started on March 20, but it really only begins in Denver once certain qualifications have been successfully met. Without the following elements of the season of rejuvenation in the Mile High City, it might as well still be winter.

10. People Running the Stairs at Red Rocks Like They Belong There
Let’s be clear, exercise aficionados: The rest of us are only okay with your ridiculous behavior on the Red Rocks steps because when you do it, most of us are still in bed sleeping off last night. Red Rocks was created to host concerts, summer movies and alcohol — not intense cardio with some sort of weird Colorado outdoor twist. We just covered the Ten Things That Make Red Rocks the Most Amazing Venue on the Planet, and "You can use it as a substitute Stairmaster" is not on that list.

9. Neighbors Start Judging Your Yard Again
You know the smile you get from the lady next door in that awkward moment when you’re both leaving the house at the same time in the morning, and her eyes dart from you to the unkempt grass in your yard and the spotty condition of your hell strip and the detritus that used to be flowers but you didn’t bother to clear it before the snow season started and it now looks more like dirty straw mixed with failure, and then she cocks her head and says, “Can’t wait to get back to the gardens, right?” Yeah, you know that smile.

8. Lots of Patio Drinking
There’s something about patios that make all things better: brunch, bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, red beers, beer in general. Despite our reputation for being "outdoorsy," patio consumption is as close as many Denverites ever get to the great outdoors. If you're looking for a place to enjoy some endless patio happiness (at least until around 2 p.m.), check out our  ten best bottomless mimosas.

7. The Return of Flip-Flops
For some Denverites, spring marks the end of normal footwear. Once it’s above sixty degrees outside, suddenly it’s okay to wear a dirty foam pad barely clinging to your foot with a single toe-split strap. Now that the Crocs era has joyously come to an end, can we as a society also come to a similar realization that flip-flops are awful?

6. Stroller Armies Rule the Sidewalks
Note to all new parents: You, your child and that three-foot-wide un-motorized Jeep featuring four cup-holders, mountain bike tires, and more luggage room than the average economy car? You know, the one that you preciously still call a stroller? You are not the only people who need to use the sidewalk. On the other hand, those family groups I see where the kid is walking and there's a cooler in the stroller? Kudos.  

Keep reading for five more ways we know that spring has arrived in Denver.

5. Dog Poop
Contrary to popular belief, dogs do actually defecate during the winter months. When the snow melts out of the parks, the sidewalks and your back yard, you’ll see plenty of evidence.  If you want to let your canine pal run free like nature intended, check out one of Denver's many awesome dog parks, where poop is expected and there are enough baggies for everyone.

4. Rockies Fans Are Not Yet Disappointed
Hope springs eternal, right? And hope for the Colorado Rockies is never stronger than in the early days of spring, in the time leading up to Opening Day. Once the Rockies take the field, of course, things generally start going downhill. Here are the five stages of Rockies grief: Denial (“Last season was a fluke!”); Anger (“Are you serious? We still don’t have a decent pitcher?”); Bargaining (“I’m not going to another game until they start winning.”); Depression (“Why do I even keep buying tickets?”); and, finally, Acceptance (“Well, this season sucked. Maybe it was a fluke?”) And so the cycle continues. At least until the brain trust that is the Dick Monfort team decides to change our coaching staff — which sadly isn't happening in 2016.

3. 4/20
We take back what we said in the intro: In Colorado, the green springing up everywhere definitely includes pot. Spring is that time of year when the consumption of marijuana heads outdoors, and that makes spring (and summer, and fall) the season of the contact high. Pot is on back porches, at concerts and definitely at Denver’s annual 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park, which gets bigger every year. So big, in fact, that organizers asked for help this year in making it even more successful. (Note: the rally is actually on 4/16 this year.)
2. Street Sweeping Starts Again
It’s Denver’s gift to you: Move your car by 8 a.m., or get a parking ticket in front of your own damn house. Look, we all like clean streets. We get why it's important. But still, "Apr thru Nov"…how we all hate you one day a month.

1. The Forecast Calls for 2 to 4 Inches of Snow
And by 2 to 4 inches, we mean a completely random amount that could be 2 to 24 inches. Thanks, Colorado weather!

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen