I guess we left off about Tuesday last week. Don’t worry, I’ve been covering my missing my little brother by being a little mad crazy. Firstly, a sincere apology to Ben, his second post did not have all his photos. Now it does. I know it’s a shitty excuse but I was sitting in the hallway of my hotel (because that was he only place to get WiFi) putting all the photos in and clearly I failed to see all the photos didn’t upload. I’m sorry Benno!
And that kinda makes you want to ask more questions doesn’t it?!? Hotel? What? I guess to make it a proper Colorado weekend I would have camped. But I’m skipping ahead some. On Wednesday Chad and Michael illuminated me as to the weekend plans. Let’s get the best looking, in terms of no snow, 14er done. Turns out that 14er is Mt Princeton. Mt Bierstadt doesn’t count, too easy for Michael, and any of the others with low snow have already been hiked, so Mt Princeton it was! It’s a good 2.5 hour drive down to the base of Mt Princeton so Michael and his missus, Allison, stayed in Buena Vista.
***52 New Things ***
I had a brainwave to do that rafting seeing as I was already there so ilooked in to Salida for accommodation. Salida had nothing less than $200 a night, but Monarch, one of the ski fields, had a decent looking room for $100. Done deal. I got there and the room I was in had no WiFi so I moved to a room closer to the middle of the place. It still didn’t have reliable WiFi, I guess the doors and walls blocked it. There was also no phone reception (annoying for the 0300 ‘we’ve left Denver’ text that Chad had planned). I dont know which of the following factors contributed most but I had a racing heart and struggled to sleep for a few hours. It must have been a combination of nerves, the all pervading pot smell, and the 10700ft elevation. The second night I had none of those issues, I slept like a baby.
So a not awesome sleep later and I got up at 0400 to be in Buena Vista at 0530 when Chad and Stella picked up Michael and I. Michael was like a little kid, positively bouncing out of his seat with excitement! Stella did an awesome job driving us up the hill much further than we’d anticipated, though the bounciness of the road may have contributed to Michaels coming out of his seat. I’m so glad they have a Jeep that got us that much further!
So we parked up, a huge spot of luck when we got to a good close spot and a car that had been camping the night was just pulling out. Score! With the closer car park the bonus stretch of submitting Mt Tigger came into play. We struck out up the road about 0700. I think we met almost as many dogs on the trail as people, and one guysaid he’d counted 65 people. Okay, I exaggerate, it was probably closer to one dog for every 6 people. The number of people on the trail is probably under cooked, there was a lemming trail up the hill when we got to the saddle.
We got to the top, for me it was a bit of an ‘eventually’ type activity. I was struggling for oxygen up there so I took it super slowly. Scrambling over all the rocks both helped and hindered: helped slow me down so I didn’t get faint; hindered as it was hard work. The view from the top, exhilarating! Even when you had to share it with so many.
We didn’t waste a lot of time up there, we fairly promptly turned about and headed back down a lot of the scramble. At the saddle we headed back up Mt Tigger, a 13er. This gave us so many more astonishing views. There was also a pesky false summit and many more rocks to scramble up. Once at the top we had to do some concerted route finding…there wasn’t a trail at all. Straight down the rocks was my plan and I was in that state of just getting it done, so heads down and we all got down without any wobbly leg incidents. Stella drove us back down the 4wd only hill (I wouldn’t have got Mabel nor Red up there, clearance was a necessity) and to the chosen burger joint. Oh boy were we hungry! Oh and bonus, we met the lovely lady who puts up with Michael! His missus, Alison. She is not a figment of Michael’s imagination and is a lovely woman.
After a good meal, I think only the boys finished their burgers, we parted ways. Chad and Stella to the hot springs, Michael and Alison to home (and surprise two week visit by Michael’s parents), and me to Monarch and a nanna nap. I slept about an hour then had a wander about the grounds, then went toned and slept through to 0400. Perfect! I rested some more then got up and headed into Salida.
In Salida I found a restaurant called Patio Pancake Place. They served me a mammoth half breakfast burrito. Just what I needed! I guess I didn’t eat dinner Saturday night after the big late burger and with the need for sleep. The burrito was good, the coffee okay, and the listening to idiotic blokes in the tables around me bloody hilarious.
After a good feed I headed down to Cotopaxi and Rock’n’row for rafting. One of the lads recognised me from Monday, but most of them were busy doing their jobs. We got our helmets and jackets and headed off to the Vallie Bridge (where we saw them initially) and were assigned boats. I love it when people ask, across many heads, “are you the single?”. Yep, I am…me myself and I are only taking up one spot 🙂 Wade, our guide, did a good job of making me feel less of the single-in-a-bunch-of-families-and-couples, he even worked out how to say my name right.
Our boat headed out with a South American girl and her boyfriend on the front, me second right, an elderly couple on the left, and Wade at the back of course. We ran throughout strokes, though the lass forgot them immediately. I love it when the front person has no clue…she was all over the place. Actually she just couldn’t paddle backwards, two back and two forward both meant exactly the same thing, forward. I gave up trying to time my strokes with her and just did what I was told. At the half way ish mark we swapped, I love being in the front!
When we pulled up outside Rock’n’row we all piled out and headed our separate ways. I did manage to get Wades card and ask him to let me know when they have a group doing the Royal Gorge that I could join with. I would love to do it! Sure, its class five rapids, hopefully I survive, but it looks like a stunning trip! We’ll see.
I am only slightly sorry, but there aren’t photos of rafting. I was all too busy doing. Plus I didn’t think to take the waterproof camera, I’ll have to hunt that down, charge it up, and attach to a lanyard. Note for this weekend.
So some statistics for the weekend:
– 5 miles hiked
– 3000ft elevation gain
– 8 miles rafted
– 2 nights at 10700ft
– 420 miles driven
So it was pretty close to a perfect Colorado weekend. There are some things that I have to work into my weekend to make it the quintessential Colorado weekend: