Friday, April 23, 2010

In Pictures: The Yampa River

When traveling with boys on the river

Bring a lot of bacon.  Meat in general will be plentiful when traveling with boys and bacon pairs well with all of it.  Ham, salami, bison, a variety of things in sausage form.  The boys will also bring things that they have killed.  Like elk.  I have to admit, it was more meat than I'd seen in years as I don't really even venture into that section of the grocery store.  But apparently carcass holds up better in the cooler than fruits and veggies.

Admission:  I have to say that the elk burgers that these men cooked up our first night on the river were surprisingly delicious.  But, I was cold.  And possibly a bit drunk.  So perhaps my judgement was a bit off.  I can say that the meat heavy dishes got a little old somewhere around day 4.  By day six all I wanted was a giant salad made with greens that hadn't been floating in cooler juice for a week.

What goes well with meat?  Beer.  Bring lots and lots of beer.  10 beers per person per day was the calculation we were given when standing in the parking lot after grocery shopping.  (Um, what?!)  We made another trip to the liquor store and we still ran out.

Also, bring whiskey.  And please make it good whiskey.  In retrospect, there could have been more whiskey.  This girlie-girl likes the whiskey.  If for no other reason than the fact that it cuts down on the trips to pee in the woods.  In addition, multiple test results show whiskey does not give me the burly hangovers that other liquor can.  So yay for whiskey.

Sneak some gatorade in the cooler.  Make room.  You're going to need it.  Especially if you were there to see the discovery of funky goo under the cover of one of the drinking water jugs at the put-in.  And you were there to subsequently hear someone say "Ah, its fine.  We'll just use that one for coffee."  When you feel like all drinking water is suspect you will be very happy to open something with a seal.
Be prepared to take some slack for anything you bring that's pink.  Don't let it stop you.  I think the boys secretly like that you look like a girl in the wilderness (provided you're not acting like a little pink princess) and pink things will help you pull this off even if you haven't showered in a number of days.  But I'm just sayin' prepared to take some verbal abuse.
Don't over pack.  No one cares if you wear the same clothes everyday, all day, for seven days.  Even you won't care after about day two.  You're just going to end up lugging all that crap around.  Like shampoo.  (yes, I did this.  i even knew it was a mistake as I was doing it but in the short turnaround time between MTBing and river rafting I just transferred the shower bag and didn't bother to sort through it.  lesson learned.)  FYI, no showers on remote wild rivers.  You can wash your hair in the river with special soap but that river is C-OLD and you are not going to want to put your head in it no matter how tough you think you are 'sconnie girl.
Do pack a headlamp and a book, so when the boys party a little too hard on the river and your whole camp is passed out by 8pm you won't be sitting alone, in the dark, on a remote river with nothing to do but stare at the stars and listen to the current.  I mean, that's great and all....but for like, 15 minutes.
Most importantly, chill out, go with the flow, and try to pretend you're not trapped on a remote river.  (i totally struggled with first it was all fun and games but around day four i started to get overwhelmed by thoughts of everything I should be doing back in the "real world", possibly because this is where the plan changed from 5 days to 7, but probably too because I don't know how to shut my brain off.)  It helps if you can get some girl time.  And I'm not talking about finding the remotest tree to pee behind.  I mean take off on a hike.  Go explore.  Get away from all the testosterone for a bit.  It will keep you sane.  Just watch out for mountain lions.  For real.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today, I love this town.

Lounging in a coffee shop window seat, chatting with the owner as I casually work on my computer.  Watching impromptu conversations happen on the sidewalk as locals emerge from the winter sea of tourism and happy mountain dogs just keep doing their happy mountain dog thing.

The sun shining as I drive with the windows rolled down and stop in the middle of the street to chat with a friend.  Then thunder and raindrops, the first I've heard this year.

A renewed post office box.  A renewed library card.  The budding of a whole new network holding so much potential for bloom.

And the mountains keeping watch above the whole dreamy scene.

Yes, today I love this town.

7 is the new 5, apparently

I have been off the grid for 7 days.  SEVEN FREAKING DAYS.  Do you know how long that is to be without the internet?  or a cell phone?  or a SHOWER?!  (though the no shower thing does wonders for your hair)

Something I was not without....a pillow.  A pink down pillow, at that.  And I took a lot of s#$% for it, but it was quite worth it.  A girl's gotta have a few creature comforts when she's sleeping somewhere in the middle of the paleozoic era in a tent with someone who has entire conversations with himself while he sleeps.  While HE sleeps....and I listen.  First to him, and then to every teeny tiny noise within a five county radius BECAUSE THAT IS HOW QUIET IT IS when you step back in time.  You can hear the wings of bugs flying miles away and they sound like jet airplanes that are about to land in your tent.  One night you think you hear cows or elk meandering through your camp, but you convince yourself you are just suffering the delusional effects of cell phone deprivation, except the next morning you find out there were in fact cows wandering through camp and then your brain just kinda explodes because you can no longer deal with the fact that you are camping with cows, miles away from the rest of your life, which is suspended up in the air while you play Huck Finn on the river with a bunch of boys who drink a lot of beer, didn't bring enough water, and may or may not have washed that pan they cooked dinner in.

So ya, the river was good.  But I am happy to be home.  Home being relative, I guess.  Seeing how it is only actually my "home" for two more weeks and then I have NO CLUE where life will take me.

Do I regret accepting that invite 24 hours out from departure and a three hour drive from home?  Not for a second.

Sure I could have been bumming around my little mountain town all week, looking for the answers to life's questions somewhere deep in the murky depths of the readily available interweb while I sipped my Americano and enjoyed the benefits of indoor plumbing.  But I would have missed out on one hell of an experience.  And life experience should always trump the internet, no?

Anyway, my point.....I'm back.  And I have stories.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A week of firsts

I would love to write all about my FIRST TIME ON FAT TIRES....

(loved it, BTW)

but I'm in the midst of managing a laundry emergency....and leave the grid.  Yup, no internet....probably no cell reception.  I'm headed out on my first ever river trip.  Five days on a remote and remarkably scenic river.

I have no idea what to expect, and wasn't involved in any of the planning, so I'm truly along for the ride on this adventure.  Can't wait!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gone biking, be back soon....or maybe not

Totally forgot how much I LOVE biking.  The first ride of the season did not disappoint.  Thank you Moab.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Unemployment, and other awesome things.

Well, I'm officially kinda sorta unemployed. And its kinda sorta awesome.

What makes it even more awesome is that its off-season, and from what I can tell that gives everyone in town permission to run off and have crazy adventures for the next 2 to 6 weeks.  How cool is a town where blowing off all responsibilities and getting the hell outta dodge twice a year is not only acceptable, its expected.

And so, while most of my life has camped out in the land of the unknown, I am trying to shut off my brain, live in the moment, and just see what happens.

Its harder than you think, this "living in the moment" stuff.  But its been pretty fun so far.

What else is awesome?

Getting your oil changed and ending up in a conversation with the dude about mountain biking.

Getting a powder day after you thought your ski season was over.

When the biggest decision of your day is which coffee shop to hang out in.

Being able to hang out in the coffee shop ALL DAY if you wanted to.

Skiing and mountain biking in the same week.




Great friends to share the road of life with.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


One more powder day!!  Happy spring to me!  Knee deep at Beaver Creek!

Monday, April 5, 2010

More crazy

This party happened on Friday.  A kick-off to closing weekend.  Those are flamingos, in case its hard to make out.  I don't get it either.  But then, there's a lot about this crazy town I don't get.  Except that even a wacky flamingo party on Main Street has amazing scenery.....

Well, that was an experience.

Closing day on the mountain.....I spent the morning in town, enjoying the sunshine.  Stopped in at the coffee shop and enjoyed a waffle (my fave!), an americano, and the great company of new friends.  Finally took one last ride up my backyard chairlift to say goodbye to all the runs that started this crazy adventure with me and realized -- I've come a long way.  Then I headed to the party.  At least the party I was "invited" to.....there are lots of little (or in some cases, pretty big) parties in secret spots around the mountain, the trick is you have to be able to ski there.  So while it wasn't the exclusive hike-to party, it was still quite an event.....great music, crazy costumes, and fun friends.

It all seems bittersweet.  Celebrating the end without knowing what's ahead.  Shutting the door on a winter season with snow still on the ground, and just as I was seeming to get the hang of things.....or so I thought.  This town....this crazy little mountain town always seems to throw something unexpected at me just when I get comfortable.  One hour I love this place, and the next it leaves me shaking my head in frustration and looking for plane tickets to Portugal.

I'm still pretty directionless at the moment.  But I do know that I need a break from all this.  So today I'll be heading in the direction of new scenery and freedom from the confines of the box canyon.

I don't know where the next beginning will be, but I know I'm not going to sit around and mourn the end.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Will she do it?

That's it.  That's the end of season goal.  That steep, bumpy, mess of a run.  It greets me every day and yet, we are not friends.  We acknowledge each other's presence.  And at the end of every ski day our little game begins.  The run just laying in wait, taunting me with the most direct route home.  Me, avoiding, putzing and winding down the mountain the most indirect and miserable route to my front door.  Only to look up when I get home and see the run, still waiting.

Less than four days to go.

Is this relationship one that will remain cold, aloof, and forever unknown?  Or will we set aside our differences and see what can happen in these few, sweet final days of the season?