Eleven Mile – Trails, and quick trip to Brush Hollow

We were struggling with the decision of what to do yesterday. The weather forecast didn’t look promising, but we wanted to get outdoors. Go for a hike or load up the boats and go paddling. Lisa doesn’t enjoy paddling in strong winds so a hike would be okay. But, if it turned out the weather was nice when we arrived at our destination paddling would be nice, maybe even in addition to a hike.

I’ve been going to Eleven Mile State Park for years. It has a large reservoir and some relatively short hiking trails, in addition to lots of camp sites, including a backcountry camping area. Every time I’ve been there I’ve thought about hiking the trails but always end up doing something else. On Saturday,   Continue reading

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Kayaking – Chatfield State Park, Colorado

For the first time on my life I had a company paid holiday on the day after Easter. So, Monday April 6th, I decided to go kayaking, and since nobody else I knew (meaning paddlers) had the day off, I went alone. It was a gorgeous day. One of those where the air temp is 70 degrees, but you’re not so sure about the water. The reservoirs in Colorado get most of their water from melting snow up in the mountains, so   Continue reading

Green River, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah – Canoe Trip

Back in 2010 I went with a group of guys on a float trip, using canoes and my kayak, down the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. The float is about 44 miles and the section is called Labyrinth Canyon. This time I went with only two other guys, Jeff and Roger and the small group was just fine by me.

The Green River at Bowknot Bend, Utah

The Green River at Bowknot Bend, Utah

Getting There

We departed Colorado Springs around 3:30PM, and I figured that the drive would take between 6-1/2 and 7-1/2 hours depending on weather. Well, the weather wasn’t so great so it was more like 7-1/2 hours. In fact, we encountered   Continue reading

Crystal Creek Reservoir – Pikes Peak

If you’ve ever traveled the Pikes Peak Highway, or saw highlights of the annual auto race, you know that it goes to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,114 feet. But, along the way there are three reservoirs which capture some of the melting snow and is then used for local drinking water. The highway drives across the Crystal Creek reservoir dam, but you need to leave the highway to get to South Catamount and North Catamount reservoirs. The area is known as the North Slope Recreation Area. It costs 4 dollars per person to take the highway to the lakes for the day. Most of the visitors are   Continue reading

Kayaking Columbus Day – Pueblo Reservoir

Since I had the day off at work for Columbus Day I decided use the opportunity to go kayaking again. This year, I was able to convince another co-worker (Tom) to go with me, although he didn’t kayak. He took his 300HP, super-charged, jet-ski. I pulled his jet-ski with my truck and we headed out to Pueblo Reservoir State Park.

As you may have noted in some of my earlier posts, it’s been kind of windy this year along the front range of Colorado and Columbus Day was no exception.  In fact, according to my Kestrel weather station, there were sustained winds of 18 mph with gusts in the 20s. Wind can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your attitude and skill level. I’m not the most skilled kayak paddler, so I must confess that I was a bit nervous. Of course, Tom was quite excited as jet-skiing over three-foot swells is an absolute blast.

Paddling Windy Pueblo Reservoir

Paddling Windy Pueblo Reservoir

As I exited the marina I hit the stronger wind of the open water and got down-right worried. I was having trouble turning the 17-foot long sea kayak and as I got sideways to the wind . . . and waves, while turning around, almost lost it. I have paddled in this kind of wind before, but it’s been a while and all of my other trips this year have been on rivers (using a 13-foot boat) or much calmer water. After 30 minutes or so I got comfortable with the conditions and the trip became more enjoyable. The temperature was in the 60s, and as you can see by the photo, very sunny. It wasn’t long before I was shedding layers. We ate lunch in one of the coves, then continued on with our day. Tom had no trouble out in the middle of the reservoir, where the swells reached three feet, according to him, while I stayed within 100 yards of shore where the swells were under two, in my estimation.

We paddled for a couple of hours and it was me who called an end to the day as paddling in the strong wind is exhausting. I really enjoy paddling a kayak and while I can see the draw to powered craft, like Tom’s jet-ski, I still prefer my kayak. A great day for both of us.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Paddle Dillon Reservoir – 2013

Got a late start on a beautiful day, but we did get into Dillon Reservoir before noon. It was hot in the Springs at 90 degrees, but a pleasant mid-seventies in the mountains, especially after the clouds rolled in.

Paddling Friends at Dillon

Paddling Friends at Dillon

 

We put in at the Blue River inlet to the lake which is between Breckenridge and Frisco on State Highway 9. Lisa and I decided to take the tandem kayak, a Chesapeake Light Craft, Mill Creek 16.5 which I built 5 or so years ago, so we could also take another couple and their canoe in our Chevy Avalanche. The lake is host to the highest elevation yacht club in the country , though we were   Continue reading

Lower Gunnison River Float – 2013

I began the year sending out a notice for the annual guys canoe/kayak trip which we’ve been attending each August for the last 4 years, though I hadn’t figured out where we’d go until early June. Since then, I worked on the trip periodically, figuring out where to camp and sights along the way.

Lower Gunnison River

Lower Gunnison River

This year’s trip was a 4-day/3-night trip on the lower Gunnison River in western Colorado. The put-in was at Delta and the take-out was at Whitewater. According to the BLM site for the Lower Gunnison  the distance in river miles is 39.

Day 1

We actually arrived at Peach Valley Recreation Area  off of Falcon Road near the town of Olathe on Thursday night as there are no camping areas close to the Confluence Park boat launch in Delta. Peach Valley is a dirt-bike/OHV trail area that is pretty much empty during the week   Continue reading