Friday, June 10, 2011

Colorado Memorial Day Trip and Angels

Old School FSR
Memorial Day saw me heading west to visit my son, Shane, and his girlfriend, Nicole.  I loaded up a creek boat and a play boat because, hey, it's Colorado!  I also threw in my mountain bike remembering the great trails in the Boulder area.
  The trip out was long with only one unfortunate event in the parking lot of a wayside in Colorado where two thugs tried to steal my boats while I was in the rest room.  Dark and traveling alone late at night I know I look like an easy mark.  My truck was the only vehicle in the car parking lot and a very large lawn separated the truck parking area.  When I came out of the rest room I saw two men walking away from my truck and crossing the lawn back towards the truck area.  When I got to my truck I saw one of my boats was pulled up but the cables thankfully held.  There was a pile of propaganda newspapers next to the truck they had just dropped.  Obviously they had planned to break some windows on my truck for a quick grab and decided not to. Looking back it could have been much worse.  I know I have a Guardian Angel watching over me.
  I arrived at my son's very late after a straight through drive.  My son's girlfriend offered me a Raging Bitch beer to relax and it was off to bed shortly after. Raging Bitch is actually very good!  A Belgium IPA.
  With everyone still working the work week I was left to my own devices during the day.  First off...check the river levels around Boulder.  Everything was below runnable with a few exceptions of low runnable that I wasn't interested in.  So I loaded my bike and headed to Eldorado Canyon to ride and sight see.
  Just coming into Eldorado Springs is unique. The paved road stops just inside town and everything is dirt and pot holes from there to the park.  Sleepy unique houses and structures. Mellow dogs walking loose.  Art studios, Yoga studios and a really awesome pool at the end of town. Just beyond that is the entrance to the park.  What I didn't expect was that Eldorado Canyon was a climbing mecca! Bouldering, Trad, Sport, and eerily enough it was also a location where people free was all there.  Unfortunately I had only brought a harness and shoes with. Foolishly not thinking on my part.
  I drove to the top and parked and took the trail recommended by the ranger. Then I followed another trail and had a gorgeous view of the Flatirons! It's amazing up there.  I rode far enough that I came down in the foot hills and took the road back to the park. I love this place!  I scouted the too low South Boulder creek and saw why it's class is V+ but dangerously beautiful.  Later when Nicole came home from work we went back since my day sticker was still good and we hiked.  That's when we saw the free climber.  Nuts!!! But he made it about 3/4ths of the way up before returning.  Still nuts!
Free Climber...nuts!
  The following day went the same.  Left alone for the day I followed Boulder Creek through town on my bike and went up into the mountains on a trail that followed the creek.  All it would have taken was just a little bit more water to run it but it wasn't to be so I biked.  Outside of Boulder I came to a climbing area and again thought how foolish I was to leave my rope and draws and such at home.   Honest...I wasn't thinking!!  But the day was still incredible on my bike!
  Finally the weekend and my son was off work.  We had a wonderful Saturday together hitting up the Boulder Festival and then touring a Meadery.  This is the oldest form of fermented beverage known to man.  Wine derived from honey.  It was all very interesting including all the tasting!  We both bought a bottle to take with.  That evening I had to run to Buena Vista to pick up a boat from Jackson for the Vermillion Clean Up and my son and his girlfriend were attending an exclusive brewers party.
   I checked the levels of the Arkansas before leaving  and saw it was low runnable.  I brought my boats and left the bike.  I was lucky enough to make it in time that evening for the Freestyle Finals!  Watching it was amazing!  Lots of Pro talent there throwing around Jackson Rockstars.  I watched until the end and then had dinner with friends.  Slept in the truck and declined paddling on Sunday and just headed back to spend the day with family.
  When I got back Shane, Nicole and I rode Betasso Trail.  It's a really nice single track and we just loved it! Mountain biking is becoming just as addicting as paddling for me.  The sports compliment each other perfectly!
  My last day I spent on a foothills trail south of Boulder while everyone had to work.  Mountain biking is a sport that I never thought I'd be attracted too but I was so wrong.  It has all the appeal of whitewater paddling.  The mind/body connection.  The lines to hit.  The adrenalin. It has it all plus a very good work out!  I know now after being on many other trails that my home trail on Memorial Bluff is a very quality trail and I'm lucky to have it so close to home.

  Sad to leave but I had to go.  I made the trip home in one long drive again arriving late at night.  I made an appointment for an oil change that day and was informed that my fan clutch was extremely bad and I was very lucky that I wasn't stranded somewhere like Nebraska.  Again my Guardian Angel on the job!
 With every intention of paddling this trip the low water and bad timing prevented it from happening for me.  No regrets since I got to spend quality time with family and get to know my mountain bike better.  Of course the water started to rise the last day I was there and I see it's gone sky high right now. Timing is everything! Still, I loved every minute in Colorado! BTW in Colorado my bike was considered a classic...back home in Minnesota it's just old.  I think it rocks!

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