Tuesday, May 28, 2013

High Water, Low

By Greg

Springtime. Snowmelt. Fast, cold rivers and creeks. Er… Sometimes.

A dry winter left no hopeful expectations for a big water season. But late snow in the mountains and a late melting season have re-arranged the expectations. Rivers are flowing, though maybe not with the enthusiasm required by expert boater.

Luckily, we aren't (yet?) expert boaters. And this season's slower slide into low-ish peak flows have suited us well. Witness:

Escalante Creek, Colorado. Noted for putting the X into X-treme for a certain class of kayaker when it has enough water for a week or so during a good year. Mike and I managed to slip into the canyon when flows were low-yet-packraft-able. We chose our section carefully to avoid the dangerous chutes and waterfalls. And we got to sample the scenery while happily bumping and scraping down the creek. Documented in this video that Mike put together:

Link here.

Next up was Slaughterhouse, a frightfully named sections of mountain river near Aspen. Cold snowmelt water. Mike, Allan and I ran it while the flow was low and suitable to our skills. Lots of boulder dodging, eddy-hopping and line-finding. A high need to pay attention at all times, lest a hidden underwater boulder send one for a tumble. We had some good, alert fun in the splashy water and only one of us took an unplanned swim. Good fun and a great way to spend the day. I hope all of you are getting out and enjoying the season!

Portaging the waterfall:

Perhaps another time?

Lost in the moment.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spring Slam III: Wildflower Overload

Photos by Greg and Trina

I came into spring with low expectations. Thinking that our dry season would leave us with few wildflowers But I kept seeing a surprising number of plants creeping upward out of the desert soil when we were out riding or walking. What were these plants thinking, besides that they'd just wither and die? Then the weather turned wetter and the flowers began to charge forth. And they've been charging forth with enthusiasm ever since.

Here's a gallery of mostly wild flowers from our wanderings in secret and not-so-secret corners of the "desert".

These two from city trees that nevertheless seemed to be "wildly" blooming.

Wild onion!

One of our spring favorites: Pucoon!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Slam II

More photos from our spring wanderings, these by Greg.

A few weather mix-ups. Out my window in March:

Out my window in April:

Bike rafting with riverside ice in March:

Flowing Creek in April:

A wild parsley that is among the very first flowers of spring:

A dry summer and winter somehow led to a wetter spring:

Shots from a local criterium race:

We stumbled upon this while wandering in a lonely place. I will admit that I found some satisfaction in knowing that, in a world where so much of the "wild" is carefully "managed", there may still be places, maybe not even that far away, where a large animal whose life has ended can rot and decay and thus provide food and nutrients for smaller beasties and plants.