Archive for colorado

Tuesday Trike Night at the Dark Horse: Fail

Posted in bar, beer, boulder, colorado, review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2010 by tymora42

It is rare that I attend an event and not have a good time and even rare that I feel compelled to write about it. What happened this past Tuesday at the Dark Horse in Boulder for me to feel so completely underwhelmed by something that should have gotten my motor revved? The burgers were great. The beer kept flowing. Most of my friends here were there with me for a going away party that my roommate, Nick, organized. The energy was flowing and we all filled out team slips to compete in the adult tricycle race around the bar. I will tell you. The host.

When you are given a microphone you should use it wisely. You are the central figure to tie in the various acts that follow with enthusiasm and encouragement. You are the instigator of the audience. You are to keep them entertained during lulls and drags along the course. You are to make them forget the dull. You return their attention to the fun they are having. Our host this night did not deliver. When he felt a loss of words for what was being witnessed he used profanity, which does not normally bother me if it is used creatively, but research shows that cussing makes you less likable even if the observer is a regular potty mouth themselves. He used the same jokes in rapid succession following each other like he thought maybe we did not hear him the first time. He went beyond failing to encourage the abnormal behavior of the participants to downright dissing their efforts. He was slow to keep the ball moving and uninteresting in his wit. None of these things are befitting of a host. When he took a bathroom break we almost cheered that he had removed himself from the stage except we were all waiting impatiently for our turn on the cycle. I expected more from a place that obviously likes to screw with their patrons.

Which one would you choose?

I will give the event this: It has potential. Free drinks meaning shots and beer. A large, welded big wheel trike for adults with ramps up and down and a crowd of people cheering you onward on your plight around the central area of the back bar to a spot in the corner where you take a shot, spin around in a barstool, relay back to the starting point, chug a beer, tag up and send your partner round for the same ordeal. You get to pick a team name, perfect fodder for a good host to chum about with while everything gets ready for the go, and a theme song. Why were there not more crazy helmets or costumes? I did not see one. Why were there not more terribly drunken wrecks part for real and part for show? There were a few. Maybe we should have had them chug a beer before they got on the bike rather than at the end. Or at both points. It still would have come down to that damned host to keep the crowd together cheering. After five heats things began to dissipate for the audience and the entire event became suddenly not as humorous.

One team spilled his beer. The host completely missed it. You have to pay attention to those sorts of things and call them out on it. Another team was obviously too drunk to be behind the wheel of the kiddie rides in front of Walmart. He called them out, but not the right way. He was discouraging rather than en-. Say something to the tune of, “We got a real winner here, folks. He has been practicing. Everyone needs to take two steps backward out of this guys way for the wide turns and weaving.” The guy was larger than most. He could also have said in mimic to the boss, “Did we remember to put the beeper on that thing in case he decides to back up?” Another group lost his group member, so he went two round by himself. He got more for that than the guy who spilled his beer. No matter how hard we tried, the host would not let anyone get into it.

It was Team Rocket’s turn, us. They could not find our song. I purposefully picked something obscure because he said that they could find it. They couldn’t. They gave us Team America instead, “Fuck YEAH!” We had our pit crew set up at the shot table interval waiting with salt on his neck, a lime in his mouth, and a shot of that Mexican powerhouse, Tequila, hovering near his breast. Yes, “his” breast. Greg took the first wave. he had some difficulties rounding the video game dead man curve, licked it, slammed it, sucked it, spit, took the required shot of grossness provided by the competition, spun in the stool, and ate it at the next corner. The host was speechless. He had nothing to say. So he fell back on what he knew, cusswords. My thoughts were this, I am going to get messy. He did say two things that could have been better if the energy was consistent. First, as I threw the shots all over everywhere, “You know we do not have showers,” and then following me reentry to the trike, “Are you going to make out with me next?” I should have stood up for that and made the attempt to do so, but my mind screamed, “Go! Go! GO!” So I went and instead made the attempt to run him over. He was standing right in front of me, but still I angled the wheel to make him leap backward. To further emphasize my lack of caring to the no shower policy, my beer chug consisted of dumping it onto my face and catching what little I could in my mouth. It was Budweiser. I do not drink that crap anyway. He says, “Well, now we can get back to normal racers.” Why would you want to do that? We were entertaining unlike you. You should want more people like that to keep alive the cheap gimmick of getting people into the bar and keeping them there drinking.

I have an idea. Get the guys from PropGay to host their homosexual takeover on a Trike Night. Then, you guys will be in for a show. It is just too bad more of them do not wear dresses to those things.

Oh yeah – And get some speakers that actually have bass.

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A Date, A Command, A Band – A Good Time

Posted in band, boulder, colorado, faeries, hula hoop, music, review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2010 by tymora42

I spent the early part of the day making faerie wings for a friend who will wear them next weekend at the Gay Pride festival in Denver. They were not being made specifically for this event. The faeries told me he needed wings, so I started to make them for him. Most times you have to do what the faeries ask of you after asking yourself why you think they want you to perform such an action. In this case their advice was noble. I set myself to task. No sooner than I had begun in this fashion than they took over my body and hands, sewing dark pink sparkly spines into the shoulders and span, attaching ribbons, and ripping white fish net fabric only to reattach it with tattered love. Some like to make their wings pristine. I prefer the worn throughout ages look, much like the magic of the “used future” that Lucas experimented with in the original Star Wars. At the end of this day’s enterprise I was confident that I would be giving him the gayest thing he might ever own. There is a certain amount of pride derived from this for me, a predominately heterosexual male.

No matter how much I wanted to keep them for myself, I knew they did not belong to me. I was the vehicle for the faeries madness to supply him with a set of aviary devices. But these pixies and sprites did not leave me with nothing. They inspired a story, still in progress, about life choices and consequences that should be released on Stories of the Flea later this season. Jotting this down for editing was the next part of my day.

I called him after his own work day to stop by the house and take a look. He mentioned the style of the lead character in Were the World Mine, a movie about a homosexual boy who gets the lead faerie Puck’s part in a highschool version of Midsummer Night’s Dream. He finds a love potion hidden in the play and turns the whole town gay, including his school basketball star crush. My buddy also had my hard drive, that he was transferring 250 gig of music onto from his personal collection. He could also bring that by. He said he had to leave now because he was going to a concert with another friend being met there. Based on his description, a punk marching band at the Fox on the hill, I invited myself.

They were amazing. March Fourth took the stage with percussive rhythm, a vaudevillian circus of performers, men on stilts, a human puppet show rebelling against the authority of the stringmasters for a night of DIY chaos. Speaking with Joel, a trumpet player in the baker’s dozen or so carnival players, everyone makes their own costumes. Decked in tribal silver face paint, twirling Dali moustaches, black and beaded bodices, striped socks and sleeves, welded spikes on bass drum shoulder pads like something out of Castle Grayskull if Skeletor would have beat that pansy He-Man, hairs of every color, and a layer of that apocalyptic used future dirt that I mentioned before coating their sweat stained bodies I knew there were faeries among us. I was with my people. They had a tribal feel in the same vein as Crash Worship, a similar style group from the 90s, except with a little less darkness and no fire. March Fourth could use a little fire, but that was the thing that got the Worship banned from most places. It was either the torches or the shooting of Roman Candles off the stage that did that. Finally, they resigned to only play in spots that had some sort of horrible accident in its past, like children drowning in the river or the end of a dead man’s curve or next door to a building that burnt down. That was back in the days before ‘goth’ was a genre, people still made their own clothes to go to raves, and raves were non-elitist outdoor events for adults in the know instead of a bunch of kids wanting to experiment with drugs.

LaTisha Strickland, named after a character in a Russian spy novel and one of the energetic dancers, caught my eye before the encore begging for one more song with a single digit pumping the air. She followed suit with her own finger brandishing wind, enthusing the audience for the chant of another. Our sign language conversation went from one finger to two, asking for a second song to be added to the one that looked like it was about to start. She returned my query with seven fingers in the air and I thought that was appropriate, although probably unreasonable. During the movements of that encore performance, she brought out the feather to fan and blow on the audience, who might just as well been working as hard as the band, but still I thought she needed the air more than us. Half naked and dripping with my own sweat, the room cleared as the music finalized. I lingered for a moment, catching my breath, and saw Ms. Strickland sitting on the corner of the stage talking with a group of fans. I went to thank her for her portion of the performance. She mentioned the sweet deal the band got on a house through the International Hostel and that they would all be hanging out there later. Of course I had to ask how a fellow member of this family could get invited back to this Thanksgiving Dinner of sorts and she said I was invited with the tone of telling a brother he was more than welcome to join them on their excursion back to their mother’s place.

Outside I met Blake and Matt flirting with the stilt man, Aaron Lyon, and a cocompatriate, Christopher (not Chris), last name unknown but it might be Long, who has a wife that would happily pay big money for photographs of her hubby making out with another dude. We parted ways with the promise of return later in the evening. Despite work in the morning, Blake agreed to accompany me to the afterparty after a stop at home for a quick refresh, a beer pickup, and a hula hoop grab. LaTisha informed me that Amy was very particular about who played with her hoops so I figured I would bring my own.

We sat outside on the front stoop for a spell crafted of fresh Twilight beer from Deshutes Brewery in Oregon (the origination of this motley crew) and an American Spirit smoke from an African guy outside the Mountain Sun’s Fish Out of Water show a couple nights previous. Christopher joined us while we talked about tigers in the trap with Uranium bullet teeth and frickin’ laser beams. Rich Cawley, the metal worker who designed the M4 ninja star belt buckle, assisted the esoteric conversation out there on the porch and would be a major player in our later evening rendezvous on top of the bus.

Amy Hatfield, the focus of the front page ad and hOt.hOOps teacher, spurred conversation about the kinetic LED hoop I was building for my sister with her collapsible hula hoops. We played with the 40lbs force weighted neodymium magnets I had in my pocket to power the thing as I explained the design of tubes within tubes and coils and reflector sockets. Throwing the ball bearings at her broke one of the cylinders. I did not mind. She could break anything of mine I owned including my heart. She invited us inside to come check out their home on wheels in the back yard. It is nothing special from the exterior, but getting inside is another story. They had beds and seats for the bulk of them in a red tinted glamour of stow away compartments, iTunes flowing music provided by Sid Phillips, the Boone Fairy, and a no ladder entrance to the top, where the rest of the gang drank dangerously from the external sundry supply box seats.

Giggles, Jen Forti, People’s Republic of Portland (buy her stuff here), proclaimed she has been told that she laughs too loud by her fellow bandmates. She brandished this natural talent of amusement for us and still I thought it could be louder. Not that it was not enough to put smiles on our faces, but to be obnoxious it would have to sound more like a cheerleader through a megaphone huffing helium. Anyone who tells you that it is wrong, honey, is just jealous. Jen’s character was one of my favorites. With the spirit of a mime she tried to fit in with the cool kids a la a rope tussle and a stilt war. Constantly, she ducked under and hopped over members without a single place because her skills were too broad to be pigeonholed. Good for you. Keep on chuckling.

We also met Faith Jennings, another dancer of the macabre and hatmaker clothing designer. Utilizing my mnemonic devices to remember names, i told her I did not believe in her nor did I believe anything she would say based on principle. Her famous quote from the evening – “The best part about being in the band is not about the music. It is about making out with the groupies.” They debated about the usage of the word ‘groupies’ and concluded it for our benefit with the change of the word to ‘fans.’ Andy Shapiro, a newer member, who learned to play saxophone just so he could run away with the M4 circus, retorted, “You guys are fans for life. Right?” Sure, you guys are great, unless you do something stupid like go J-Lo ubermainstream and stuffy. I will tell you though, I am not rushing out to get a tattoo right away, buddy.
Even though it is a cool logo. Later he would end up with the perfect traffic cone and Katie Presley’s cell phone sized MP3 player pretending to be the modern punk rock equivalent of the RCA dog. Are those bugle boy jeans you are wearing?

We stayed on top of that bus most of the rest of the night. On a restroom run into the house, trying to conserve the interior traveling tank’s capacity, I saw LaTisha, the instigator to this journey, sitting on a vinyl couch with Luke Solman, trumpet player. She welcomed me, glad I made it, and I let them continue. Twos had begun to separate for the sake of intimate conversation time. Jenny DiDonato and a former member of the band who moved to Boulder a while ago talked on the stoop near the tigers with frickin’ laser beams while I hooped in the street to realign my bearings.

One member I would like to discuss is the bus driver, the Neal Cassady of the group, known by the crafted name of Bangkok, don’t ask him why, and better known as Alex. They have the categories of the Brass, the Beauties, and the Beats on their website, but not the vehicular counterparts that get them to where they are going. They are a valid an important part to the crew. They keep it all moving. They make sure everyone who needs to be on the bus is on the bus when the bus starts moving by taking off at scheduled times. At the very least he needs a spot on the web lauding his accomplishments and relationship with the craft affectionately known as the Razzle Dazzle, or Razz, or a number of other nicknames they declined to tell us. Razzle needs a spot in that category as well. We need the story of the name derived from the Hollywood Bowl and that ninety year old Broadway showtunes singer, who gave it her ancient energy, her blessing, through song to keep on trucking from town to town for the sake of entertaining these millions stuck in the real world.

We left the night with that song in our own hearts.We hugged you all. We never gave Aspen the whiskey, but he found it anyway. We hope you enjoy your travels not only when you look back after the time has gone, but while you are in the midst of it despite the strength of such magnanimous personalities because I know they can be oppressive. I have been there. Keep beating your drums. Keep blowing your horns. Keep on moving and keep on playing. As the command goes, “March Forth!”

Fish Out of Water

Posted in bar, beer, blog, boulder, california, colorado, music, review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by tymora42

Walking a friend home last night, involved in a deep conversation about the social stigmas placed upon the American culture regarding homosexuality despite the youthful curiosity of childhood, we passed the Mountain Sun, a brewery pub in Boulder with the best beer you cannot buy in stores. They were the only establishment rocking hard enough for us to take notice. Some funk band was jamming out inside with a small crowd of people dancing out front. When the population floods out of the hall where the band plays still grooving, it is always a good sign. We made the end of the block, gave our hugs, set our stage for the morrow, and parted ways. You bet I went back to see what they were all about.

The group was called Fish Out of Water from Mendocino, CA. They were kids wearing bellbottoms without shirts and I think they brought their own panties for girls to throw around. I only caught the last two songs and the encore, but it was enough. One song had two endings, the airplane, and the drown to stop. They thanked everyone for a good time. Everyone thanked them by yelling, “Its only one o’clock. Why the hell are you stopping?” So they brought out the little tykes xylophone keyboard and whanged away with the drummer on an instrumental. Two boys from Bongolov (playing July 10th at the Drafthouse) jumped on the mic for some ambient rhythm flow devoid of many real words or so it seemed. It was like Lisa Girard rapping to a George Clinton lullaby.

Fish Out of Water is playing again tonight (June 7) at the sister spot of the Mountain Sun, the Southern Sun. You should go.

Behind the Ogden and Over to the Cheeky Monk

Posted in bar, beer, blog, colorado, denver, music, review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2010 by tymora42

We set out onto the Denver night with the focus of seeing David Rhinehart at a house concert hosted by as place called, “Behind the Ogden,” which was by the plum de nom, behind the Ogden. The venue was not a real venue at all, meaning it was devoid of licenses or even chairs for that matter, but it had drinks, a performance space, and music. It also had a table of vintage, and soon to be vintage, americana materials neatly arranged around the CDs of the artists for sale. The centerpiece was a table diner style ketchup and mustard rack. Instead of the condiments there were, very confusingly I should add, a single bottle of Wonder Bubbles. This home did not look like the type of home that would be very accepting of some stranger walking in and blowing bubbles all over their wood floors. Believe me, I was tempted.

Recently, a girl my roommate invited over noticed my construction and decoration of faerie wings. They freaked her out. In a juvenile, third year psychology major mindset she rationalized the creepiness with mental disorders fresh from her most previous classes. One of those, among other upsettingly judgmental accusations, was that I had age identity issues. I accept the truth of this to an extent. Much of my writing has reflections of it. Daily I struggle with the modern quarter life complex of being an adult, yet maintaining a youthful demeanor and playfulness. In extreme cases it is difficult for me to find my fit. Tonight was no different. At the house concert I felt too young to be there. Passing the Ogden and the Fillmore on the streets I felt too old.

Eventually I could stand it no longer. I took the soap outside to play. The evening air had the right amount of humidity for bubble perfection. Surprisingly, I did not take their hula hoops for a spin. When the music started again, I laid out on the cool, soap scum free, wood floors. The atmosphere was very church like. Rhinehart slowly brought the energy up a notch, keeping it in the tolerable realm for the stoic audience, then back to comfort. He was holding back. Only during the “Murder Song” did he reveal his desires to cut loose a little more. The song was still slow but the content, a man who killed his wife contemplating the life taking of the widow next door, breached. I would have liked to see the same show with a rowdier crowd.

Afterwards, we crossed the streets of children at the Tech N9NE concert to the Cheeky Monk, a belgian style bar with Dubbels, Trippels, Saisons, Kwoks, and ales from left to right. I was not so much in the mood for drinking until I had the fried pickles. The waitress brought me a glass of sweet and sour cherry mash called Kasteel Rouge. It was good. Really good. I must also mention that they are the only bar I have ever been that had Delirium Tremonds on tap.

More than the street with the kids trying to be all grown up in their hot pants, dreadlocks, struts, and puking in corner trashcans; more than the adults trying to be kids with their do not disturb bubble containers, vintage paraphernalia, choral recital halls in living rooms, and sleeping in designer sheets; the Cheeky Monk was my place with my people. They served us quality. the wait staff stooped to our level of immature dialogue, and they let us make noise sitting outside on the patio. They would have had no problems with us blowing bubbles and nobody needed to puke in the waste bin.

Home on Vacation – the rest

Posted in blog, colorado, houston, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by tymora42

Day 6 and 7 –

We took it easy. That much adventure left us exhausted for a while. We drank margaritas and mojitos in town after Tara took us to the souvenir shops her and mom scouted. Robert was looking for a cowboy hat to mark his Colorado debut. They also wanted to get steaks to treat my family to dinner as a way of thanks. They even left a card that made my mom tear up a little. Robert found his hat on the last day. He wanted to be sure it was the right one so he checked out the non-tourist places also.

We were supposed to go to the Piedra Hot Springs along the Sheep Creek Trail on Day 6, but a photo slideshow kept us a little too late for hiking. Again, we were late on Day 7 with dinner and all. I was hell bent on going, though, so we made the twilight trek. The wild animal fear gripped us once more on the path down the mountainside lit only by small flashlights and the moon. When we got there it was worth it. We almost turned around once or twice. Little did we know it was literally right around the next bend. There was a single car in the parking lot at the trail head and a single tent in a campground at the bottom. We knock knocked for permission to travel through, a courtesy campers use to let the sleepers know it is harmless humans lurking about their tents.

We also asked if they knew where the hot springs were. “Straight down the hill,” they answered. You follow the Sheep Creek Trail until you first hit water. Don’t go down to the bank just yet. Walk to the right and you will pass a single fire ring campsite. You are almost there. The trail looks overgrown here and you might not be sure it is the real trail or not. It is. The very next grove head down to the banks. You will see the pools. I am guessing they have black sand in them. It was dark. We could not be completely sure. Tara took some in a cigarette pack wrapper. I will have to ask her. The biggest clue you can have is the steam coming out of the water near the frigid river. Some are too hot like that Eddie Murphy/James Brown spoof on vintage Saturday Night Live. Find the one you like and lay down. They smell, but immerse yourself fully anyway. You will not regret it. I used a rock as a pillow to keep my head above. There is also a shovel left there to make them deeper or to blend the river with the spring.

We laid out soaking, reminiscing on the past week, and confirming our lifelong friendship. It was a nice end to the adventure. It was enough to make me remember why I moved here in the first place. I needed that shot of memory. I miss the people in Houston, but I do not miss not being able to walk out my backdoor for some wholesome outdoor activity. I can do the outdoor part in Houston, unfortunately it is never all that wholesome – skinny dipping in the fountains or climbing Miller Theatre after dark and running from the law. Yeah, I miss it a little.

Now that they are gone I am kind of bored. The past few weeks have been trying to solidify a place to live and a job. Neither seem ideal to me yet. The apartment is too expensive and too small. The job doe snot pay enough. This does not mean I cannot still look. The best part is I have a roommate I trust and some burgeoning friends to reacquaint ourselves.

Next Spring I will bring my canoe.

Home on Vacation d5

Posted in blog, colorado, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2009 by tymora42

Day 5 – The River of Lost Souls

We took our skills to the Animas River. The Spanish called it Rio de las Animas Perdidas. Animas means “breath” or “soul” in many cultures. To the Spanish it was the river of lost souls. We started at Baker’s Bridge – Class 1 for 16 miles, which means little or no rapids. The river oxbowed back and forth with and then against the wind. Shortly into the run we hit our first obstacle and failed it miserably even though we got out to look at it and figure the best route. We were still getting our river legs on. We bunched up against the rocks, missing the entry by at least a foot. We ended up getting out and walking the canoe through it without passenger. Robert took the front paner rope, I took the rear.

At this time I took a moment to reiterate, “If we flip, it is the person in the back’s fault. He has to watch how the person in the front is leaning and overcompensate for it. If we lose the canoe, it is the person in the front’s fault.”

We would eventually get a chance to prove this hours later.

Along the banks of the switchbacks are old rusty cars. Robert, who knows about those kind of things, says that the oldest he saw might have been from the early 70s. Most, however, were from the 50s and 60s. I fought the idea of the city using them for an erosion control solution. How could such a naturalist Colorado government approve something like that? In Texas it would make sense, but I guess I had higher expectations for an outdoor oriented society consistent with leftist hippies and go-green mentality. I thought maybe a flood pulled them in and the city dragged them out. Unfortunately, I could not find any online information about it, so the mystery remains. To support his case Robert pointed out that all of them were front end down and none of them had engines. He hypothesized that they all came from junk yards, having been long stripped of usable parts.

We could have taken his girlfriend and the dog on this section, but we did not. Two conflicting maps (or so we thought) made the trek from our put in to 32nd street uncertain. A river map drawn and produced by a local jumped from an unrated gorge with multiple danger signs, exclamation points, and the words “DO NOT ATTEMPT” to the class IIIs of 32nd street. The other book claimed that area to be what it was – class nothing. Rather than take the risk we sent them with my mother to do souvenir shopping, something Robert would not be that into anyway. They were supposed to pull us out in a neighborhood access point behind the Home Depot. We never made it there.

Less than a mile before 32nd street bridge the water started picking up. We had a good couple twists and turns around protruded rocks to practice on before we hit the public eye. Then, it was full on action. Robert shouted “Left. Right. More Right. Left. Left!. LEFT! Oh, wait. I meant RIGHT!!! RIGHT!!!” We pushed through, scraping over unavoidable rocks in the low spots. The rain that had been on our footheels from the moment they arrived in Colorado closed in. We had pushed well in front of it during the long stretch of open water, but now it was menacingly upon us.

At Smelter rapids, the 3 mile marker from 32nd, we got tumped. We even pulled out to look at it. That seems to be bad luck for Robert and I. He said, “Get your ass back in the boat.” I said, “Wait a minute. I want to look at this. Give me a cigarette.” I had pulled us out because we were definitely not going in it at the right angle. We saw 3 major rapids back to back forcing us to zig zag slightly but quickly along a path of white. I did not see the 4th or 5th. That was the one that would catch us.

“You can have a cigarette after we conquer this.”

“Fine.” We backed up about 20 feet to get a good straight shot into the trail. He called his directions around the first 3 precise. We hit them perfect. I also told him earlier that if we get into the shit, get on your good side. One thing that made Robert and I such a good team is that he was a lefty and I a right. On that 4th Class III we were a bit crooked. He shouted, “HARD RIGHT!” and I dug in to swing the bow. He happened to be leaning on the right also. I did not notice until it was too late. I watched a small wave lap over the side of the canoe. It filled it and threw us out.

There are 3 things I could not believe when we were finally secure enough to process. 1. I kept my hat on my head 2. and the paddle in my hand. 3. Robert left the ziploc with the cigarettes and lighter open.

He caught the canoe, which weighed over a ton, from the back paner and drug it to shore. I had no way to even think about grabbing it. By the time I was out of the boat, it was 10ft ahead of me. After we flipped and bailed the water out of it and readied ourselves to rock and roll on the last couple miles, the rain came in fierce and hard. We were going to do it anyway. Lightning struck to advise us against that.

Smelter has park access. We were on the other side of the bank for that. The 5th rapid looked at us from a short distance. Just ahead of that was the exit. I figured we could make it across without problems. I forgot this was a lake canoe and not a white water. The major difference is a rudder that runs down the center of the boat for straight lake travels. A whitewater does not need that because it has the current to propel them along. It also does not want it because it needs to be versatile enough to pull out of rapids or skit across at an angle to them. For instance pretend you need to get across the flow to a bank on the other side. That rudder will get grabbed and straightened into the mix. Into the mix we went. It was good that we did. Both of us would have hated to end on a bail out.

Home on Vacation 3

Posted in blog, colorado, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by tymora42

Day 3 – Engineer Pass

We researched the San Juan trails using Latitude 40 maps. They really are the best for this area. They include all trailheads in easy to spot yellow Ts, they are topographic with easily discernible elevations in feet, they are waterproof for the mid afternoon Colorado rainstorms, and they have all of the current trails listed with difficulty ratings. I love them. Thank you Latitude 40. We geared up and got out late as per norm. When we got to Pinkerton Springs, I let the couple go walk the dog while I divvied up the food between us. Each got a can good (I know, a terrible weight for the overnight and all day backpacking trip), each got a bag of trail snacks (cranberry granola, nuts and chocolates, and dried apples), Robert took the Pastrami and cheese, I took the tortillas, Tara took the drink mixes and excess sundries (dogfood, TP, extra ziplocs), and everyone got two emergency energy bars. The dog, Scottie, was the only one who got off Scottie-Free with the weight. He made up for it by running ahead and back to the group and in circles and all over the place. That dog was downright loopy. He must have climbed the mountain 3 times more than all of us together. And he still had energy.

We went straight up about 11,000 feet to Engineer Pass. We stood marveling at the height and magnanimity of it all. We ate Lunch/Dinner and kept going. At the mesa past Coal Creek Pass Trail going toward Jura Knob we settled in for the night. We still had almost an hour left of light, but we were not sure how long we would be on the ridge and Robert could not take another step. He was experiencing the first signs of Altitude Sickness. We did not know this yet. When the temperature dropped steadily at 11,600 feet after sunset, we all realized we should have brought the warmer sleeping bags. It probably would not have been so bad if the weather was not as rainy all day. Nobody got much sleep that night. Everytime the wind blew the grass ruffled against my tent fly, making me think some predatory wild animal was rummaging around outside. We hung the food 10 ft high on a 3ft branch extension 50 ft from camp and downwind to deter bears from entering our sleeping quarters. This still did not prevent me from seeing the need to gather thick long sticks and things to throw. That might have been more for the sake of coyotes that howled until dawn. The only worry that we had little on our person to prevent was the lightning and thunder. It looked as beautiful as dangerous from our vantage.

Before morning Robert puked, Tara cried, and I paced the meadow wondering what we were going to do tomorrow. Earlier in the day Robert talked about never turning back. I was of the same opinion, however, argued the point of it being necessary not to limit your options. Robert was hard headed and stated his case. It was valid, but immediate experience would persuade him otherwise.

Day 4 – Coal Creek and Silverton

We turned our train around and dropped down about a hundred feet. Robert sucked Propel packages dry for the electrolytes and pumped himself full of vitamin C tablets we thankfully had the foresight enough to bring. He was feeling much better. Coal Creek made a nice loop back to the trailhead, so we took it. It was a partial compromise. We turned back, but we still got to see new things.

This was the first time my pack was the exact right weight ever. Maybe my concern for the other two overshadowed my own discomfort. I don’t know. The second day I took a load off Robert on account of his sickness. It still did not feel to shabby. It must be the new tent weighing in at just over a pound and a half total. Surprisingly, Tara still had a full skin of water. I halved it with her when we got under the timberline.

Coal Creek loses a cut trail for a quarter mile. People put up rock markers to tell you where to go. Figuring that out was fun. Trying to figure out if they hike chainsaws up the hill for trail maintenance or whether they helicopter them to the top and hike down was fun also.

We hit the road after a short drizzle of rain. I hitchhiked back to the car from a guy with a back brace. Enviously, he listened to our adventure. When I told him Robert had Altitude Sickness he goes, “Oh really? Where is he from?” “Houston.” We both laughed. I guess coming from sea level to close to 12g in less than a week would do it. The rest of our planned route would have taken him higher. We were going to walk along the ridge of the Colorado trail and then down to Molas Lake.

I picked them up and suggested we go to Silverton. We were right next to it anyway. We got some BBQ, did a little shopping, Scottie bit a kid, and we left. He was a little grumpy. It was time for all of us to go home.

next – the river!