Tag Archives: adventure

Poopin’ on the Poudre

24 Aug

It’s been a while since this took place, but I have to share a somewhat quirky story to share with you.

About a couple of weeks ago, I went to the bathroom just before bed, and when I flushed, much to my dismay…nothing happened.

I grabbed the plunger and did what one would expect to need to do.

And nothing happened.

Well, it took days (yes, days) to get the problem fixed. Just prior to this, I had folks over camping in the yard and my landlord thought one of the ladies might have flushed something inappropriate for flushing with a septic tank. I was mortified that it might have been my fault if the septic system was messed up.

But of course, I had no where to use the bathroom in these few days, which is where the real fun was.

I found myself going just up the road a little bit to a pull off where you can access the river that had an outhouse. Yup. I was using an outhouse to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t use my own. Not something everyone can say they’ve done.

It turns out that the sub-pump just stopped working, and I didn’t actually break anything. Relief.

What happened to you that you had to improvise with what you had at the ready? Ever had your only toilet go out of commission for days, and what did you do about it? 

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That Time I Went Hitch-hiking

19 Aug

Remember those times I picked up hitch-hiking kayakers in Poudre Canyon? Well, during this adventure, the tables were turned (and what an adventure, indeed!).

Saturday started out well enough. I met a friend and we ate at this little dive bar and restaurant in the canyon. As always, it was delicious. Then, we set off to go tubing, which was where the days real excitement lay.

We got our cars positioned. Mine was at the get-in point, and hers was at the get-out point. She bought a fancy little stretchy key ring so that we could keep our keys on us without losing them in the river. I was reluctant, mostly because I never lock my car anyway, but we went ahead and put both of our keys on the key ring and she put it on her wrist for safe-keeping.

Bad decision.

Not even 10 minutes into the hour-long float, we hit some rapids and as she was paddling and off slipped the keys.

Gone forever.

The rest of the float was, of course, super fun and I had a fabulous time. Once we got out, our only option was to start walking toward the nearest gas station, which was probably about a couple of miles away. We didn’t have our cell phone, as they were locked in our cars, and we didn’t have service until that gas station, anyway.

Mind you, we are in bikinis. I’ve never been that naked in public for that long.

We thought about hitch-hiking but were a little nervous about it and didn’t want to get into anyone’s car wet. With the long walk ahead, however, we decided that if a pickup came by we would put a thumb out and just climb in the back.

A little while later, we finally spot a truck driving solo, and I immediately put my thumb out. At first, I thought they passed us, but they did stop (I was kind of surprised it was that easy).

It was a couple of college fellows named Carter and Dawson who had a huge white truck covered with mud, even on the inside. In hindsight, it was probably a poor choice of people to ride with, as they invited us in the cab, the back doors only opened if the front doors were open, and they had just been shooting so my friend actually had to climb over the gun in the backseat.

And we were basically naked.

But we were thankful, regardless.

Once at the gas station, we made the calls, and the nice attendant gave us something to drink. I drove in the back of the AAA vehicle, which had no seats. My friend was nice enough to drive me to work the next day, and pay for the re-keying of my car (because the key that was lost was the only key to my car). She was so much more helpful than I ever could have expecting, and the entire adventure was one that I won’t forget any time soon.

Moral of the story: don’t expect those key ring things to stay on when you’re swimming in a river

Have you ever hitch-hiked? Was it easy? What happened (before and after)?

Some Thoughts About Change [from an Expert]

6 Apr

Did I reel you in with my expert comment? Well, I hate to break it to you, but I’m no expert. I do have some experience with change, though, as you can probably figure out from the events of the last 6 months.

Remember in high school, when you got that senior yearbook, and half of the people who signed it wrote “Don’t ever change!”? I read an article recently (unfortunately I can’t seem to find what it was, or I’d link it) about how you need to change, and hopefully, you aren’t the same person you were in high school, because face it…you were just a little immature.

I understand what the author was getting at. We need to be adults and we need to adapt to our ever-changing priorities, but here’s where I disagree:

I don’t think you need to change, I think you need to grow.

I often hold to one principle: I don’t change. People will argue with me, based on the same reasoning as the author of that article. I’m obviously not the same shy girl who stuttered when boys talked to her in middle school (true story), right?

Well, sort of. I say that I did change in that middle to high school transition, but once I got to high school, it all stuck. Now the only thing left for me to do is grow. Some interests have expanded, and others have diminished, but they are all still interests.

Want to know some things that changed? Well, for starters, I used to be homophobic-ish. There was no hatred, but more of a fear of the unknown. I also used to be very shy, and now I’m not shy, just introverted.

The reason I write this, though, is that these last 6 months have been life changing. Not me changing, life changing.

Six years ago, when I was but a freshman in college, a girl named Kelsey told me about something called Chaco’s. She told me I should get a pair, and in that moment, I never, ever thought I’d buy something so…unattractive. Fast-forward some years, and I met a fellow with a really fun tan-line, that I couldn’t help but comment on. Even then, I still scoffed at the idea of owning a pair. And then fast-forward a few more months, and here I sit with a hydration pack in the mail, and frustration at how much a pair of sandals can cost.

What’s the moral of the story? Well, that it may sound like I changed, but I really just grew. I’ve always had a thirst for adventure and exploring, and believe you me…I love sandals. They finally all just grew enough to merge with one another, and came to a head when I realized I hate shoes, but flip-flops suck to hike in. 

And I kind of really want a cool tan-line.

I can’t really help it, can I? I live in the mountains, after all.

What do you think – change or growth? With my definition of both in mind, have you changed? Have you grown? How?

My Travel Adventure

28 Oct

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I didn’t realize until one of you asked recently that I never told you all about my vacation, so while some time has passed since, you deserve a story (and it’s a long one, so bear with)!

If you would like to read my journal entries, instead of this narration, I will be typing those out and posting them [hopefully] soon, with the links at the bottom of this post, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, read on my friends, read on!

Originally, I was leaving Sunday morning early, and I would be travelling from Fort Collins through Estes park, Breckenridge, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Craig, Steamboat Springs, and back into Fort Collins, CO on Thursday. I was going to hike McCullough Gulch, Maroon Lake, the Grottos Trail, Crystal Mill, Hanging Lake, Rifle Falls, Gold Creek Falls, and Fish Creek Falls. It was my plan to stop at hot springs along the way, and stay in a bed and breakfast one of the nights, while camping the other three.

All of this I was going to do by myself, and in the end, I did do it by myself, but I didn’t do nearly as many things as I had planned.

The first time I had to change plans was because of the flooding Colorado saw the week before. All the roads into Estes Park were closed because of the flooding and the damage they received, and Estes Park itself was basically under water. That shot Sunday’s plans completely down, and it was supposed to rain in Breckenridge on that Monday, so that foiled Monday’s plans as well. I decided it would be best to just leave on Tuesday, so that was what I did.

I took the interstate through Denver, and met up with my friend Tori to get breakfast. That was a little rushed, but it was great to see her on a trip that I’m doing solo.

So not terribly long later, I got on the road again and headed west to Glenwood Springs. I stopped along the way at a mining mill museum, and took a tour. I got to pan for gold and took lots of pictures. That was definitely the highlight of the day. I went down through Leadville and went through another museum and got some ice cream, and I looked through an antique shop and took some more pictures. They have an attraction called The House with the Eye Museum, and I really wanted to tour it, but unfortunately it was closed for the season.

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Finally, I made it to Glenwood Springs, which was where I had my bed and breakfast reservations, and I checked in and this little house was adorable! Everything was perfect. I walked downtown and ate at Brewpub, then walked back and got my stuff to go to the hot springs. It was a developed hot springs, so it wasn’t my ideal set-up, but it was still very nice.

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The next day, I woke up and had breakfast with the other two housemates – Spike and Maxine, who were an older couple. Breakfast was 3 courses and delicious. When I finished, I headed up the mountain to the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. I did the Fairy Caves tour, which was amazing, and the zip line, which was actually really stupid. I don’t suggest that one, especially for $12.

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Then it started to rain, and I was running late, so I headed down and took the drive to Marble, CO to hike Crystal Mill. It was generally dreary all day, but by the time I got there, it was barely drizzling, if anything. The first 1.2 miles of hiking was brutal; Daniel’s hill was probably a large chunk of the 1000 foot elevation gain, and generally smooth trail, making it even more difficult (in my opinion). This was also my first day of hiking, so I hadn’t become accustomed to elevation yet. Believe you me, it took me what felt like forever and I had to take so many stops I’m [almost] ashamed.

Then, I reached a fork in the road, and had no idea which way to go.

I decided to veer right, even though it was downhill, and that didn’t make sense to me. I got to a bridge over a creek, and it started sprinkling a little more, so I donned my rain jacket. I turned around because going downhill didn’t make sense to me, when I had to stop and move for a couple of jeeps coming through. I asked one of the drivers if I was on the right path, and he told me I was, but advised me to turn around because of the weather and the time of day.

I have a tendency to be stubborn, so I thanked them and continued on my way.

Then, I reached another fork in the road at Lizard Lake. While pondering which way to go, and having no real clue, it started pouring. I took refuge under a large pine tree and started trying to figure out if I should wait out the rain, keep moving, turn around or some other option.

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That was what one of the jeep people came and “rescued” me. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they just couldn’t let me do the hike in the conditions, so they offered me a ride back. It turns out they were part of a paid tour group. They dropped me off at my car, and having yet another day foiled, I drove back to Marble, with its measly population of 100, and ate at the only restaurant in town: Slow Groovin’ BBQ. It was actually pretty tasty (except for the corn bread, don’t get the corn bread!), and I ran into the jeep tour people again.

That night, I stayed at what ended up being a very secluded camp ground. It had a toilet, a place to pitch a tent, and that was about it, all for $20.

The next morning, I just had to hike Crystal Mill again. I couldn’t not see it, so I headed back to Marble and decided to pay for a jeep tour. After all, I had already made it past the most difficult part, so it isn’t like I needed to prove anything. It didn’t open until 10, so I piddled around at a thrift store/coffee shop and took some pictures of the area. It was around this time when I realized everyone in this podunk town knew who I was. Word travels fast.

I bargained with the people who run the tours, and they ended up letting me pay $40 to get taken to the top of the trail and dropped off, so I could hike down. Crystal Mill was amazing, and I ended up having to pee in nature, because no one told me in 3 minutes we would be to Crystal, CO which has an outhouse. I also saw some man-butt, because some guy wanted to swim.

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Even the guy who runs the book store at the top of the mountain knew who I was.

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The hike back down end up being about 7 miles because I parked my car at the tour site, instead of the trail head. Even though it was downhill, it was definitely not my cup of tea. By this point, I didn’t really have enough time to do another hike, but I still had a lot of time before bed, so I went back into Glenwood Springs and ate at the 19th Street Diner. It was decked out like a 50’s to 60’s diner, and the food was pretty good, too. I randomly picked a campground from my phone, Amy’s Acres, and when I got there it was like a hotel. $20 and I got hot showers, a restroom facility, and electricity!

After what was actually a very restful night sleep, I woke up bright and early, took a shower, and headed to Hanging Lake. This trail is 1.2 miles, but you gain 1000 ft in elevation, so it is very steep. I averaged about 17 minutes a quarter mile, and enjoyed it much more than Daniel’s Hill. Hanging Lake, itself, it gorgeous. I spent a very long time just hanging out there and enjoying the scenery. I went up to Sprouting Rock, which feeds the lake, too. The hike down was almost more intense than the hike up, but I felt good.

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Next stop was Rifle Falls, which ended up being very beautiful, and basically flat-ground compared to the two hike I just completed. It was simple, and I got to explore some caves around the back side of the falls.

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Ahead of me was a three-hour drive on the western slope to Steamboat Springs, where I was planning on spending another night. The view was nice in some places, and I had to drive through a sheep run, which was neat. When I reached Steamboat, I decided to just make the final three hours back to Fort Collins, since it was already dark. I couldn’t come back down the mountain, though, because of the floods and road damage, so I drove up through Laramie, WY and then back down CO-287. It was actually faster, but I couldn’t get home soon enough.

And that was my trip. I don’t think I needed to do it and do it alone, but I think I’m a better person because I did. I proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and even though I know that, it’s nice to be reminded of it.

What was your last vacation? Have you hiked any of these places? Might you in the future?

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

21 Aug

 

After much debate, I decided to go ahead and watch The Hunger Games (movie).

It did not deliver in a way that I had imagined it could. Katniss was a pretty good character, but Peeta was not what I had wanted at all. The movie also left out some parts that I thought were very important to the story. For example, Peeta wasn’t mad at Katniss for pretending at the very end of the movie. I can’t even imagine how the second move is going to be if they left out such a vital part. That is a huge part of their character development.

Did you watch the movie? Did you read the book? What are your thoughts? 

Tubing the Poudre: An Adventure

8 Aug

It isn’t any secret that I love to go tubing, and go every summer. Usually, I wait until August because the river is shallow, but not too shallow, and the warmest its going to get. I don’t stay in for very long, but there is always a lot of excitement and a lot of laughing.

After waiting all year to get back in the river in a tube, I decided to go today with my friend, Jessica.

Poor choice.

After the fire that ravaged Poudre Canyon, the water was murky with the ash. As we got closer to the river, it was quite obvious that the water wasn’t the best quality, and as we situated ourselves in our tubes, we realized we faced a bumpy ride. I’ve never been in the river when it was that shallow before.

Right away, we (or at least I did) faced troubles. Our first set of rapids caused me to get stuck on a rock and I lost my shoe. In my attempt to get it back, I got stuck on another rock, and flipped myself into the water. Jessica kept floating on, and managed to grab my tube while I was stuck flailing in the river. I bounced off multiple boulders, and ended up with scrapes on both knees, and a banged up arm. When I finally freed myself from the rapids, I had to climb onto the rocky bank and over to where Jessica was resting.

We continued on down the river past another rapid, while trying desperately to avoid hitting ourselves on rocks. When we finally reached the first beach, it was reasonably smooth floating, and the people playing in the water there were nice enough to have grabbed my flip-flop and returned it to me. Just moments later we found ourselves on more rapids, but we navigated them reasonably well. The last set of rapids didn’t defeat us either, and was quite enjoyable (although just as scary as the others).

Jessica and I finally reached our finish point, and paddled to the shore. I put my flip-flops back on my feet, and jumped off my tube. I instantly sank a foot in the ash that had settled to the bottom of the river. It was one of the most disgusting feeling I’ve ever experienced, and I immediately starting moving to the shore. With every step my feet sank almost to my knees. I lost both of my flip-flops because of the suction and eventually, for lack of options, began to tear at the beach with my hands in an effort to move faster. When I finally got out of the water, I found that the beach still had the sinking quality of the river bed. My hands and my feet were covered in black, sooty mud and my shoes were gone forever.

Jessica’s attempts were better received. She climbed closer to the bank, and only sank slightly compared to what I had to power through.

Kindly, she let me use one of her flip-flops (which was even nicer considering the state of her smashed toes), and we made the trek back to the main beach. I, immediately, ran to the shallow water, and sat on a rock to allow the river to wash away the massive amount of mud I had collected. It was a flawed solution, but better than nothing.

Once I was decently “rinsed” we climbed back in the car and headed into town. After eating at Verne’s, we went back to her place to part ways. As we were talking, I looked down and noticed that something was in my swimsuit. It turned out to be a charred piece of what I can only imagine was a tree, about the size of a dime. Upon further investigation, I noticed that the inside of my swimsuit was a massive amount of black ash and the charred remains of the forest.

At home, I got into the shower and took my swimsuit off. Before I even removed my board shorts, the water was murky. When I finally peeled off my swimsuit, handfuls of ash fell out. They covered my body from head to toe, and as they washed off, they collected and made an effort to block the drain.

It was really an adventure for the storybooks, and we laughed harder than I’ve laughed in quite a while, but both my plans to go tubing tomorrow and on Sunday are cancelled indefinitely. Hopefully, next summer will prove to better tubing conditions. And we both survived.

Do you have any memorable tubing experiences to share?