East Animas October 2022
The view from our local crag: East Animas – Durango, Colorado 2022
We stayed in town for am October Weekend. The plus side of that is that I can invite people over for dinner!
We are saving money, a good meal you can have with friends and family is mussels. A bag costs 12 dollars even from our best Meat and Seafood Market, Sunnyside. And you just cook it up in white wine, butter, shallots and Parsley. We served ours with homemade French bread. And there you have it a meal for four people that costs under 30 dollars and feels like a real treat.
The next morning we went out to East Animas. We climbed Spike, a 5.7 East A. The route is old school so it likely feels a lot harder than a 5.7. But, it has plenty of room to place cams and there is an interesting horizontal crack in the middle with a juggy lieback top out.
After we had planned on doing triple tree, but we stumbled upon a route we hadn’t tried. My partner bravely did the lead only to find out that the section between the crack and the bolt was flexing and loose. At the top of the crack he placed several nuts and made an anchor.
Once we were home, my partner looked up the route. Apparently if you go far right you can avoid the sketchy rock. I don’t think we will be attempting another summit. And for anyone local there is some booty out there for your efforts.
All in all, a nice relaxing day. We ended it at our local brewery few blocks up that allows dogs. It’s not the Creek, but sometimes you make do.
The Whole Enchilada – Utah
The Whole Enchilada is a 34.1 mile mountain bike ride. My partner and I rode on a hardtail, not recommended.
We also have been climbing in the Creek and Kayaking, not mountain biking, therefore we are not in shape for mountain biking. However, when someone invites you on something this epic – and you are in shape, you go.
Also since we have been busy with our jobs and other sports, we didn’t really pack as you should when you do an epic.
Basically, I worked Saturday and ran around grabbing cliff bars and making sure we had extra tubes. Meanwhile, my dear friend who is an excellent mountain biker asked if she could take a nap before heading out. I know this to mean there is a 50/50 chance she slept through her alarm. I told her to fit into the car and sleep on the way. When I went to buy the dog sitter beer, I came home to friend asleep on my couch
My partner, friend, and I put three bikes and camp gear into a Subaru and headed out to Moab, rolling into camp way after dark. We had planned on meeting everyone by using an In-reach. But, the unsuspecting a group decided to host a rave in the same location. The silver lining, we had Porta-Pottys.
As one does when you camp next to a rave. You attend, do a little wet noodle, then head back to camp to pass out. There were Hobbits, angels, fairies dancing until 4 am. A little rough start to a 34.1 mile ride though. The rave boosted on dancing until sunrise, they only made it until 4 am.
The next day we made it to our shuttle. And all in good spirits.
We all stuck together, and had a hell ride down the La Sal Mountains. From the steep drops to the gorgeous views, we were really getting into the groove. When we reached around mile 12 miles in, one of us took a turn too quickly on sandy. Then there were two less, as they headed to the rode to be picked up by doctors in rich 4 wheelers and taken to the ER.
My personal favorite was the slick rock, I had never really encountered large amounts of slick rock – and let me tell you – it is a delight!
Most of us brought only water and a ton of it, but one of us had a pack full of powerade. Every 5 to 10 miles one of us were rubbing against him with big ole heeey therrreee do you have an extra powerade?
Towards the end everyone started eagerly looking for the river, the sign that the end is near! Towarda the end, there is one hop that is near impossible. I say near because all of us walked it, but we saw a single rider achieve it.
Just as I approached the jump up, a biker showed up with a pack of boys. And he hopped that bike right up, None of the other boys tried it. One of my friends tells me, “it is so impressive what we humans can do.” That brings a warm vibration through my weary bones.
We biked all the way back to our shuttle. I would not recommend this. If we do this again, we will certainly park a car at the “take out,” ot book a closer shuttle. Instead we biked the river trail all the way back to the shuttle on the other side of town.
Once back in town we all stripped down and put on our comfy clothes literally in the parking lot. Everyone could feel the swirl of a snow storm beginning to brew.
We quickly packed everything into the vehicles. Our car stopped at fast food drive thru and drove the three hours back home. Once we arrived home we left unpacking for the next day. Our friend drove herself home to wait until tomorrow. After a slow rise, we all sank into her glorious hot tub in the morning and dropped off her camping gear.
Five Fun Things September-October Edition
- Mushroom Hunting.
- Middle Finger Neon Sign
- Smut Clubs
- Stern squirt
- Halloween in a Mountain Town
We had a ton of rain in Durango, Colorado late summer/early Fall. And, one day a girlfriend and I went out to the La Platas and spent hours walking around and identifying mushrooms.
This book above is a little homage to just embrace who you are. The book is full of mushroom fanatics and it is a delight to see people being weird, silly and embracing themselves.
We only took home mushrooms we were positive were edible. My favorite were these tumbling puff balls. The book reads them as bland but they soak up herbs. And easy to identify.
MIDDLE FINGER NEON SIGN
This is too expensive for my budget. But we have a loft with a brick chimney (not a working fireplace) and how fun would this sign be on it.
I have joined a smut book club. We meet once a month. And it has been an delight to say the least. We are on meeting 4, this month is Ice Barbarians. It’s weird, funny and I think everyone can use some some silly sex talk with our girlfriends.
A HUGE hit was Remain Nameless: https://archiveofourown.org/works/23875939
It’s a Harry Potter Fan Fiction. And, while the purists might think a Draco and Hermoine Smut is absurd, the author did an excellent job creating a believable story and it is HOT. Draco is in therapy.
As with the change of seasons, the kayaks have been put into the backyard to stay until Spring. However, towards the end of the Season in September, we really got into the stern squirt.
Here, is a great website that teaches the basics: https://www.pyranha.com/blog/how-to-stern-squirt/
What I found to be really helpful is do not wait to learn back, lean immediately as you hit the white water.
HALLOWEEN IN A MOUNTAIN TOWN
Intro to Creek Season 2022
It’s been a while since my last post, we lost our Shasta to an unknown tumor. Our little world was shook to it’s core. I cannot put into words how much we loved her. I am not going to try.
We have been healing and raising a rambunctious new mutt as part of our healing process. I needed the closure of releasing her ashes before I wrote again.
It is Creek Season. For those close enough and others lucky to have a small glimpse on vacation, Creek Season is magical.
For my job, I am constantly “on call.” And for most employees, “vacation” or PTO translates to “will only respond by email.” Well, as you descend the curvy downhill entrance into Indian Creek, Utah, there is no cell service, no internet. And, the camping is well into the canyon, about 45 minutes or so.
Over the years, I have learned you just have to email everyone the Friday-Saturday before you leave and explicitly inform everyone that I am NOT reachable even by email – I don’t have a choice. And, as time has evolved it becomes clear this is not just a moment of backpacking for 4 days, this will be every weekend for two months.
And you know my partner loves it. I HAVE to return to my twenty year old self. I HAVE to not work. I am just the bruised up, dirty, messy bun climber trying to push her comfort level. I am open and carefree because I have to be. The person my partner feel in love with at Red Rocks in 2010.
Now, last year I had some days of waking up at 4 am and driving up the curvy road to check emails, sneaking out “just to make sure.” And, this year I am determined to just let people who cannot read their emails, figure it out.
Since there is no internet/cell service, if you are meeting up with people, you check the message boards near the campsite for a note written on paper clipped to a board.
Now the best part, the Creek is breathtaking. In my lifetime, I will never see everything there is to climb. The dirt and sand is bright red covered in juniper, green prickly pear and barrel cactus, lined with yellow and purple flowers.
The climbing is soft on your hands unlike Granite, and Trad can easily turn to aid climbing if you get stuck. And, everyone is out to have a great time. The atmosphere is full of energy and stoke.
So this Saturday kicked off our season. And, while partner worked I ran around cleaning out our camping bin, pulling out the gear, stocking up on sandwiches and we drove out to the Creek. We set up camp in the dark to await an early morning start to beat the heat.
Next morning, our first crack was at the Farside, a 5.10. It ran an interesting roof followed by a steady line up. I am taking hand, foot, hand, foot style line. The crack sucked you in and kept you grounded. As it felt sound to climb, it also meant it vacuumed up gear if you fell. We both took laps on the route.
On my last lap, I decided to go for a cam wedged in and left behind. I found an end of a climbing rope lost long ago, and pulled it under the cam from above. After some work, I dislodged the old rope and the cam (which turned out to be new, score!). There is a still a carbiner in that crack if anyone is interested in going treasure hunting.
The next crack was an off-widthy 5.9, not in the guide book. Off width is not much comfort level on lead, but with some balancing and a backwards clip to the anchor, it’s a delight to climb.
After several laps on the 5.10 and both of us taking a run at the 5.9, we headed to Hamburger Rock just to walk around. In that area, there a hoodoos that look like hamburgers stacked around.
Around sunset, we headed back to camp and started a campfire. We made hamburgers with Tortilla chips and salsa. And both read into the evening.
In the morning, the buzz feeling that you get as you fit into rhythm of what feels right, hit in: coffee and packing up camp. We headed out to Habitado Crag.
I lead a 5.9 and almost did it clean with one take near the top where it turned to “3’s.” My partner then set up a difficult 5.11 on aid. We each took our turn trying to master a series of “ring locks.”
After we headed out of the Creek to return home until next weekend. Well next weekend we will be in Moab to mountain bike the Whole Enchilada, but the following weekend.
Tis the season.
We are rounding away from river sports entering into rock…
As the animas water starts to hit the low 400s cfs and the tubers are out in full force, we are starting the uphill climb to the local crags.
It’s been a hot (literal) minute, since we have pulled on our harness on over our hips and shoved our feet into some climbing shoes. Our hands show signs of cracking from over exposure to river water not chalk.
Friday after work, we met several friends at East A. The community feel of catching up, and laughing about rope swings made it very real that summer is coming to end and fall is very much on its way.
This year I have not picked out my Fall objectives for the Creek, but I hope to have a list here soon.
Not a pumpkin spice girl, I am a Desert Lizard who very much likes her campfires and brat dinners in the Creek.
We decided to build an outdoor shower in our backyard.
Why: Yes, we do river sports. But, also there is something magical about being outside. I mean let me put it this way. You can shower as the sun sets. You can shower in the rain. You can shower with the crickets. I think you are starting to get the point.
Location: We live on “the grid” in a small mountain town. We have apartments to our right, and houses to our left. We tucked our outdoor shower near the outside door under a Box Elder Tree.
It’s a really easy setup. We purchased a water heater online. It connects to propane and the water hose, and comes with a shower head. We purchased the water heater before we really knew where we wanted the shower. We have a cement block in the corner of the yard that seemed to be a good spot. But, then the direct heat would have heated up the metal we were thinking of using as a siding, so we decided to put it under the box elder.
How: Our first mission was to clear out the rose bush, and flatten out the soil. We then dug two holes to put posts in and cut around the patio. Thankfully, we had the help of Duncan’s father to cut around the patio bricks.
We then used cement to set up two wooden two by four wood posts to make a wall. Once the posts were setting we set up the weed quilt on the ground and placed the stepping stones where we wanted them positioned. We then put out pea gravel around the stepping stones.
Once we had the hardened cement, we cut the sheet metal to close in holes in fence from our apartment neighbors. And then we put wood across the two by four posts so we had something to screw the sheet metal to. We then attached the sheet metal to the wood.
We positioned the water heater, and then made a shelf for shampoo and conditioner with an old license plate we had available. We added a split on the hose for outside, so we have a hose to the shower and a hose to water the plants. And, well in a day of work, we had a fully functioning warm water shower outside!
Reality: The water gets really HOT. You can control the temperatures. Your outside with some string lights and a tree. OK now with that imagery in your mind listen to this short clip audio on high. And, think of thr smell of freshly cut lavender.
Some Mountain Scrambling with a Hot Shower in a Thunderstorm and Pancakes
We woke up early to run a local haunt, Engineer. We had really projected doing Snowdon, but when we woke up – our mutt followed us around the house begging to come with and we caved. She can do Engineer, no problem.
We set out in the morning, and hiked fast. Engineer is a local haunt because it’s in an easy location and has some fun technical moves. If you have never summited the mountain, a lot of people get lost on route. There is a video that can help with navigation:
While our mountain mutt can summit this mountain, I would say and from observation many dogs would not be comfortable with this summit.
Once we summited the mountain, we ran the entire hike back to the car. It’s mostly downhill and you can really pick up speed running. The hike itself is very rewarding because it goes through trees, wildflowers, and ponds, and then up this techie approach with excellent views.
After we came home, my partner took a nap and I headed out to see if I could gets some surf laps in. Sadly, the weather didn’t hold. Once I got back home, I jumped in our new outdoor shower (post to follow soon). The shower is heated and secluded. We showered in the rain listening to thunder in the distance, really worth it.
After the shower we made some cardamon jelly from our purple plums that we have in the backyard. We made some savory pancakes with our tomatoes from the garden and sweet pancakes with cardamon plum jelly. We have been trying to really utilize our fruits and vegetables from our backyard.
I’d say not a bad Sunday. Here is a photo of a breakfast the next day highlighting our jelly and tomatoes:
San Juan Brook Heaven
Mid-week, we started a mission to travel from Missionary Ridge in Durango to Pine River Trail near Vallecito. We started after work and made our way to our first lake, City Reservoir.
Our first night, we hiked well into the dark – set up the tent and fell asleep. In the morning, I ventured out to the first lake of our mission to find an abundance of Brook Trout.
After we left our first lake, we summited the pass and entered an area with creeks and ponds full, absolutely full, of trout.
We traversed the side of a cliff until we reached a rocky descent. After we headed up a pass and slept along a creek surrounded by mountain tops including a remote fourteener.
We slept without the rain cover on the tent, and in the morning we woke to our dog Shasta sitting peacefully watching a herd of Elk descend along the mountains.
After descending into the valley, we made our way down to a lake with crystal blue waters. The crystal blue waters revealed the deep dark depth of parts of the lake while being transparent enough to reveal large blocks of granite, giving off a different universe feel. I caught a cutthroat in this lake. We camped overnight.
After that lake, the trail lead down a windy and not necessarily straight forward descent. We crossed several rivers and made an ascent over a rock well kept pass unto moon lake.
We made our way up to a well-designated path that lead out to Moon Lake, where yet again it was filled to the brim with Brook Trout. When you caught a brook, all the other brook trouts would swarm around.
Last day, we made our way to Emerald Lake then out the Pine River Trail. Shasta slept happy and content for days.
*** All photos are film. Color film is developed from disposable cameras, the black and white is from a 35mm camera. I didn’t plan advance ahead (buy film online) and our Walmart didn’t have any film only disposable cameras.
Five Fun Things
- While we have been getting some rain, I have been taking lunch on the river. If you can make it the full minute of the video, there is a treat at the end! This ending is just so Durango. Yesterday, I also watched a man kayak while his small dog followed along the sure. He then put the dog on his kayak and gave him a ferry to the parking lot before heading home. Just a normal Wednesday Evening in Durango, Colorado.
- Have you been able to catch some of the US Open of Surfing? Here are some highlights:
- We are going to start building our outdoor shower this weekend! We attended a magical wedding in Oregon where my friend’s father made an outdoor shower because everyone was camping! It’s so simple, all you need is a hose and connect it to this water heater.
- With all this rain we have also been disc golfing, and I am personally working on my technique. I found this video super helpful:
- My partner turned 32 this month, he requested a carrot cake. After doing some research, I decided to go with this recipe. For the first time, we finished all the cake without having to throw some out at the end of the week. I doubled all the spices. My Mother In Law said it was the best carrot cake she has ever had! She specifically requested I make it for her birthday in the next few weeks. Those are edible flowers I found at our farmers market.
Who are you when you are off work?
There are the famous weekend warriors (those who go out and adventure Saturday and Sunday). It’s how I have described myself for years.
I want more. I need more. I crave more.
In the last few years, I have been jealous of these people who seem to be financially secure and always outside and being active.
Let me be clear, this is not a request for advice on how to give up my mortgage, or live without healthcare. That’s not for me for so many reasons.
But, why do I have to be a weekend warrior? When did we as a society accept that we should sit on the couch and watch television? Or, agree that once you hit thirty, you must start having children? There are five hours between when you start that drive home and go to bed.
Yes, that sounds exhausting – because all you want to do is decompress after work. Yeah, I thought so too. As someone who has started to push the limitations of that, I can tell you that it’s in your head.
For the last two months, I have been getting up at 5 am at least twice week and running Hogsback. And two to three times a week, I have been going down to the river to at a minimum to surf the waves at the water park. Or, sometimes if the water is high enough, I bring my surfboard instead of the kayak down to the wave. Even if it’s just thirty minutes, I have never regretted it.
Here is reality, I am not the only one. There is a group of people who are there on a regular basis. There is no waiting at home for the text or call back. It’s just heading to the trail or the river and talking to people. We now know each others name, we know each others skill level, we know each others personality.
Yesterday, my partner and I were kayaking the Town Run after work and we were talking about a friend who wants to date a, “surfer chick.” And, I laughed out loud because the conversation at the water-park is not men trying to pick up on women.
The conversation at the water park is what are you having for dinner? When does your partner want you back home? Woah! Check this out, I found a tennis ball for my dog in the water! That’s some wholesome conversation that we all need.