Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting out in the backyard.

Unsettled weather the last few days had us reluctant to get too far from home. But spring fever is here--it's gorgeous outside even when it's not, so we still wanted to be *out* as much as possible. That, combined with a hankering to avoid the crowded trails and trailheads, had me geeking out on Google Earth and Topofusion late on Friday night.

I came up with a plan, ran it past a halfheartedly listening L, then started throwing stuff into a pile.

Although the bulk of the loop was out away from the teeming hordes, we had little choice but to start at a busy trailhead. We pahked the cah near Rustler's Loop at Loma, slalomed through FGFS's and barking dogs, then followed the stock driveway down to the Colorado.

Inflated, packed, and shoved off in short order, then floated and gawked at walls, riffles, and avian passersby. Lots of movement this time of year.

We took out at Rattlesnake Canyon, stowed the boats under an overhang, then started hiking. The intent was to work our way up to the arches, never having seen them despite living here for way too long. Most folks get there by jouncing their way down a way-too-long 4wd road before hiking the last 2 or 3 miles. My reluctance to visit lay in that drive, but it also ended when I realized how close we could get with the boats.

I love getting into naturally confined spaces, where the limited view forces you to pay more attention to the finer details.

We worked our way up the canyon, crisscrossing the crick and wondering how much it would swell if the impending rain ceased pending.

Round about here it went from a hike to a serious scramble.

And then it got steeper still.

And then it started to sprinkle. Which is when we decided we'd made it far enough for the day. A flash flood seemed unlikely given our current drought, but we were also in a bad place to be wrong with that kind of gamble.

Headin' out as the weather heads in.

We snarfed pizza and root beer back at the river, then put back in to try to beat the storm.

Despite sun overhead, we paddled against constant gusts and amidst sprinkles, hail, and thrumbles. Fortunately our time in the water was short--we took out at the Horsethief Bench hike-a-bike.

Stashed boats, started hiking out.

We followed the eastern half of Horsethief to Footnote, then back onto Rustlers. Only in the last ~10 minutes did the drizzle become heavy enough to encourage rainshell deployment.

I love finding new ways to enjoy and appreciate the backyard. Each time I do I get inspired to do it again, and again.