Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A week of winter...

...does not a not-weak winter make.

The last ~2 months have looked like this.

Positively gorgeous, which is what you'd expect of fall and spring around here.

Except that it's the heart of winter, and our most popular trails (light on moisture and heavy on traffic) have already become linear sand dunes.

Finally, on Friday it started to snow.

By Sunday enough had fallen to make fatties necessary for the first time in months.

The irony of finally having fatbike-worthy conditions?

In 7+ hours out on trails in the shadow of Denver, Jeny and I saw one other rider.

(Hey Cal!)

Complaining?  Hell no.  

I'll take empty trails for any reason every day of the week...

...and twice on Sunday.  Which is pretty much how it worked out.

Alas out my back door the snow is already nearly gone.  Hoping that the weather wench predicts gloom and snowy doom for at least a few more weeks.  Our trails and flowers and rivers and psyches are all badly in need.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Finding flow.

A few months ago I got invited on a trip.  Trip of a lifetime some would say: Down the Grand Canyon.

The fine details included a mid-January launch, being out 10 days in small boats, a total of 5 guys well-versed in the self-support ethos that a trip like this demands.

As departure drew closer and friends learned of the trip, a common question, worded appropriate to the experience and perspective of each asker, arose.

'Why rush through paradise?'

Regardless of verbiage, the question is valid from any perspective.  If you're given an opportunity to do something that few can and fewer will, why not take your time and savor it?

The answer is different for everyone.  My answers are simple, and are probably not the same as yours.

-Because I believe in miracles, and getting five first-world-dwellers to put down their devices and engage the world beneath their feet for ten days straight seems nothing less than that.

-Because the simplicity of a self-support trip seems ultimately satisfying relative to the alternatives I've seen.  

-Because ten days is enough time to bring out the best and worst in your friends, and yourself, and to understand that you can't have one without the other.

-Because with a competent group and minimal gear, ten days actually gave us ample time to do all that we wanted to do.  Leisurely breakfasts, at least one hike a day, several hours of floating, time to ask, and hear answers to, any question that came to mind.  Then a leisurely dinner, campfire time, and sleep under the stars and waning moon.

-Because any day in Grand Canyon turns out to be a pretty good day.

-Because ten days beats nine, or none.

What we found was that ten days was the ideal amount of time for this group to flow through this place, unhurried, expectant, engaged.

I'm thankful to this group, and to Alpacka Raft, for continuing to foster my understanding of and immersion in a world I could scarcely imagine just 5 short years ago.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Winter in our neck of the woods should, and typically does, look like this:

^ That pic was taken a few weeks back, in the 'heart' of winter.  Despite the appearance of deep snow, a trained eye will see a proliferation of surface hoar.  What you can't see, but what I can vouch for having been there, is that that hoar extends from bedrock to surface, regardless of aspect.

In other words: The snow is rotten and there isn't much of it.

And that's the good news.

Drop a few thousand feet, to the locales we can easily reach on an all-day ride, and it looks more like this:

Were this May, that amount of fast-receding snow would be just fine.

Drop another thousand feet and you get this:

Tacktastic hero dirt as far as the eye can see.

And while no complaints have been voiced about velcro dirt and exposed skin in February, we all know that in the grand scheme of things nothing good can come from this.

With no precip in the forecast, the reality is that our ephemeral wildflower season will be a brief blip, here and gone, before...

...well.  Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.  

If doom and gloom and a smoky blast-furnace summer are en route, so be it.  No sense dwelling on or pre-prognosticating it.


Meanwhile, we've taken all available opportunities to get out and put tires to dirt and rock. 

Nothing feels 'right' about blasting manuals through chunky holes in February.  We sessioned this'n several times trying to wrap our heads around it, to no avail.  Ultimately just moved on, perplexed.

Greg and Trina are set to jet down to Arizona next week.  You know, the way people do...


...when you're at ~5,000' in Colorado and need some relief from, uh...



Regardless of season or weather, this one is always enigmatic.  Conundrumful.  

Maybe just weird.

Yes, you really do have to make that ^ switchback, and no, we've never seen anyone clean it without at least a nose-pick-pivot, if not some full-blown hopping.

Tis the season for tuning up bodies and bikes.

Does the tone of this post seem incongruous, chunky, lacking flow?

If so, you get exactly how we feel about the winter that wasn't.

Thanks for checkin' in.