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Heat this, not that 

Long Story Short

Each year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documents temperatures between June and August, and comes up with an average summer temperature for cities like Colorado Springs.

Records for the Springs date back to 1895. From that year through 1951, the average temperature here is on record as exceeding 70 degrees just once — in 1934, when it hit 70.8. (It is possible that it happened again in 1903, 1918, 1946 and/or 1947; records are incomplete for those years.)

Between '52 and 2009, we exceeded 70 degrees five times. As recently as 2004, we came in at just 64.8 degrees.

But every year since 2010, we've topped 70. In 2011, our average summertime temperature hit an unprecedented 73.2, and 2012, our Waldo Canyon Fire year, upped even that.

Suffice to say that if summer has seemed unusually unforgiving in recent years, that's because it has been. Upon hearing the word "summer," one of our co-workers now first thinks about sitting on the couch in a tank top and underwear, perfectly still for hours, with bags of ice under her thighs in her un-air-conditioned apartment. "Miserable" is the word she uses.

Well, in this, our annual Summer Guide (starting here), we're suggesting you peel off the dampened couch and wrestle some control back into your sweaty palms. For many of us, summer used to be a time of possibility and freedom, and it can be again. Actually, straight-up hedonism is within your reach. Let us point you in the right direction.

  • Straight-up hedonism is within your reach. Let us point you in the right direction.

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