Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Storm Before the Calm Before the Storm

Before writing this blog post I perused my photos to jog my memory.  I’m amazed at how fast a month can go by!  At first I thought my blog wasn’t showing me my latest post and then it dawned on me… Nope, that was really only a month ago!  I’m not sure if that makes sense so to boil down what I’m trying to say, a month seems like forever ago.  And what happened a month ago you might ask… Well, let me tell you.

At the end of my last post you may remember me telling you that I was about to go on a week long trip with a bunch of teenagers from the Houston, TX area.  The trip consisted of half a day of team building activities, rafting Browns Canyon, rock climbing and repelling, ducky-ing, and finished off with a final day of rafting through Bighorn Sheep Canyon.  For some reason I didn’t have that much energy going into the trip.  Because of that I didn’t have the best attitude.  I really wish that wasn’t the case because the kids were great and kept us laughing.  The youth pastor that came with on the trip had them work through a book that introduced them to a bunch of different ways to study the bible.  He had a great relationship with the kids and also loved quoting The Holy Grail.  Needless to say, we got along great!  One night that week we were staying at a campground just a few miles from our boathouse.  That whole week fires had been burning in Pagosa Springs, Colorado Springs and several other places in the state.  The winds had blown a lot of the smoke right into our valley which made the sky and the sun turn an eerie color of pink.  It reminded me of when the skies turn green right before a tornado in Minnesota.  To add to the eerie effect, we had been informed of a fire that had started just 5 miles north of our boathouse and that we may be asked to evacuate if the winds shifted.  Not what you really want to hear.  Thankfully the winds had blown the fire so far north (where there was just forest and no houses) that even if the winds turned south the fire would basically put itself out because it wouldn’t have anything to burn.  Not going to lie, trying to stay calm and keep a group of teenagers calm when the skies look like death is not an easy feat.  Like I said, thankfully that’s the closest a fire has gotten to us this summer and that was close enough for me!  If you want more info on the fires the Denver Post has been having some good articles and coverage on the topic. (http://www.denverpost.com/coloradowildfires2013)

The whole crew from Houston, TX
A couple of them enjoying a double ducky

Jumping off a rock by Double Dip Rapid

The title of this post reflects the ebb and flow of busyness this past month.  June 17th-22nd we had 171 people walk through our doors and the week after that we had 202 plus 18 on a week long backpack trip.  That may not seem like a lot but trust me it keeps a small staff busy!  After those two weeks we had a few days with only a couple people coming in each day so we used that time to clean up the mess we created over the “storm” weeks.  That cleaning week also happened to be the week of July 4th.  As a staff we dressed up and paraded around the boathouse singing patriotic type songs.  Mark just laughed at us the whole time and possibly contemplated why he hired the people he did (which happens more times than you might think… at least we keep him laughing!).  We then all went into Westcliffe to join in on some of the festivities, eat dinner, play in the park, and enjoy the fireworks.  One thing worth mentioning about dinner that night… Have you ever heard of Rocky Mountain Oysters? (If you haven’t check out this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountain_oysters)  Well, I thought it was just a practical joke of sorts, but nope, there’s a bar in Westcliffe that actually serves them!  Naturally, we had to get some and each try a bite.  They weren’t horrible, but I don’t think I’ll order them again.  It’s one of those mind-over-matter type of foods.  As long as you didn’t think about what they were you were fine.  Andrew Zimmern (host of Bizarre Foods) would have been proud of us. 

The gals on July 4th

Rocky Mountain Oysters

They actually didn't taste too bad.  I ate a couple of them.

Nature Valley always donates a TON of granola bars to all the rafting companies in the area.  This is our selection. 

The Anderson's getting ready to go down the river

July 7th – 8th we took a staff trip to Ouray, CO for some rest and to play in the mountains a little bit.  We didn’t do anything too crazy, just some hiking in Yankee Boy Basin, sitting in coffee shops, soaking in the hot springs, and some rock climbing.  It was nice to be away from the boathouse for a few days and hang out with the staff and the Anderson’s. 
The whole staff and all the Anderson's in Ouray, CO

Even the Anderson kids got to try climbing in Ouray

When we got back to the boathouse it was back to busyness.  We have had a steady stream of people coming in and we’ve been prepping for the coming week trips.  Cori and I went on a short backpack trip to scout a trail for a trip she is leading this week.  We covered a lot of miles and vert in a very short amount of time.  We were both extremely tired but for some reason still went climbing with the rest of the staff the next day. 

Me cooking dinner on the trail

Cori and I not looking forward the the 6 miles we had left...

Climbing at Shelf Road outside of Canon City

Being a true Minnesotan I have to talk about the weather at least a little bit…
The weather here has been rainy.  I don’t remember it raining this much last year, but since we’re not living out of a tent I don’t mind the afternoon/evening thunderstorms and rainshowers.  Jeanne Marie and I went puddle jumping one day, a few of us played Frisbee in the rain yesterday, and I’ve decided that I love rafting when it’s raining and thundering outside (as long as I’m not trying to get through a rapid).  It’s just neat how the thunder echoes through the canyon.  Other than that, there are days when it’s unbelievably hot, and others when the heat is bearable. 

That should bring you up to speed on my life.  Thanks for reading!