Tuesday, July 30, 2013

‘Merica 2013

‘Merica’s birthday fell on a Thursday this year so my wife and I decided to skip working on Friday (something I should do more often) and make a long weekend of it.

Avery 4k on the 4th

The first stop in our weekend was Avery’s 4k on the 4th. It’s not my type of race. The people I run with tend to track their runs as often by vertical distance as much as horizontal distance. A 4k is almost too much of a sprint. But the race is run on the 4th of July. It’s meant to be short so you can talk your friends into joining you.

Then there is the beer and food. While the price of the race has gone up over the years, you can still get your money’s worth. This year for $35 you got:

·         A well run race
·         A tech shirt
·         A massive breakfast burrito
·         All you can drink Avery beer

I showed up at a race and met up with Greg, Jarod, Afred and Zack from the Boulder Track Club. In spite of the hectic start we all stayed in a pretty tight pack with Jarod leading the way. With about a half-mile to go I edged Zack and then got out-kicked by Greg. My time of 14:08 was a good 16 seconds faster than last year so I feel the BTC has proven its worth.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Fri. 5 July 2013

We lingered for a couple of brews, but the rest of this big, open state was calling us. Around noon Alita and I made tracks for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Six hours later we set up camp and got to work on some fajitas while we waited for our friends, Dan and Rachel.

For those that have never seen this national park, there may be canyons that are deeper, steeper or longer, but none that combine all three to the extent of the Black Canyon. On Friday, Dan and I decided to descend into the Canyon. After and epic breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomatoes and beans, we made for the visitor’s center. Our leisurely pace breaking camp meant that we did not get there until around 10 am. We had meant to hike the Gunnison Route, but the rangers told us that the 15 permits for that trail were gone. Instead we settled on the Tomichi Route.

It is called a route because trail would be far too generous of a term. The route was basically a rockslide / watercourse which descended almost 2000 ft. in 1.25 miles. Dan and I made it down in 1.5 hours. We went upstream a little ways to a waterfall and then started back.

There is no shade and both of us polished off our water before the top. We lost what semblance of even what route there was and were reduced to pulling ourselves up by whatever hardy plants had gained a foothold. We made the rim in two hours – which was decent since the website recommended that you plan for 4.5 hours. But we were beat. We met up with our spouses who had hiked along the rim and went for our campsite that night.

Fishing in San Isabelle National Forest

Sat. 6 July 2013

We camped in the Monarch RV Park and the next day Dan and I went into the San Isabelle National Forest. One of my guidebooks had recommended Brown Creek for the chance to catch some native cutthroats. We parked at the trailhead and started ascending. While the trail parallels the stream it spends most of its time on the ridgeline. There is a marshy section right before you join the Colorado Trail which could be worth fishing. We however turned south on the Colorado Trail and went a ways further. We crossed one branch of Brown Creek but continued onto the second (slightly larger) one.

After crossing a bridge we set up our rods. The creek was tight – you definitely needed a good roll cast. But Dan found a nice hole with what looked to be an 8-10” cutthroat. He rose him two or three times on a parachute adams, but the little guy was no dummy and we continued on downstream. A few yards down the stream I caught a six-inch cutty.

We meandered down the stream for an hour or two. Dan caught two small but feisty brookies. We then went up the ridge and regained the Wagon Wheel Trail which met the road just a couple hundred meters down from the Brown Stream Trailhead.

We finished our trip in Salida which is one of my favorite towns in Colorado. We had a great meal at the Boathouse before retiring to our campsite and heading home the next day. 

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