Summer is beautiful in the mountains, but it's also a harbinger of horrors great and small, forest fires being among the worst and most devastating. Mud is no fun either, but without it – in the absence of abundant snow on the upper elevations and a long, slow thaw – we face something far more unforgiving.
For all our sophisticated technology and machines, soaking rains are still the best defense against forest fires. In ways we moderns often fail to recognize, the earth hasn't changed much since the Pleistocene Epoch, when mammoths and mastodons, long-horned bison, saber-toothed cats and giant ground sloths roamed the planet.
One big difference, however, is temperature. Global cooling and glaciers characterized the Pleistocene. The big worry in these times is global warming, disappearing glaciers and drought.
Heavy summer rains mean more mud, but every good thing comes with a price. If it doesn't, we're either stealing it or wasting it or both.