Saturday, July 5, 2008

Time off the Water in Salida, CO

The Arkansas River here in the Salida area is blown out. This is great for the kayakers and white water rafters, but not so much for the fly-fisherman. So, I've taken a hot shower (the first in almost 3 weeks) and cleaned off the inch or so of mud that had built up on the Teardrop after Beth said "boy, that thing is muddy!" Two nights ago, I awoke out of a deep sleep to the sound of a big thud and the the trailer was shaking a bit. I knew this wasn't normal and as I swung around to close one of the doors which were open to capture the cool breeze I saw about a two year old black bear float by from three feet away. I say float because the bear was so quiet as it was walking away you could barely hear it. Anyhow, all I had in the "kitchen" was a banana I had left out to ripen and a kiwi which didn't smell at all (at least not to me). Both were still under the hatch mind you. But, I guess that was all the bait it took to attract the bear. Not sure if they can be seen in the picture below, but the bear left a couple paw prints on the back of the newly cleaned trailer.

Later that day I was doing laundry and had to fetch Beth to help with the coin-fed dryer which was acting up. As she's walking into the laundry room I busted out laughing and she said "what's your problem?" I said, well Beth, for someone who says she's scared of snakes, you damn near stepped on that big bull snake. Well, she lets out a shreak when she finally sees it. Tom came to the rescue, picked up the snake, and threw it over to the other side of the creek. Apparently there have been two big bull snakes in the campground this year, and they have been seen curling around and climbing pine trees. They must be after bird eggs, as I have seen some broken shells laying around. One camper on the back lot saw the big one (8 feet long he says) just after eating a rabbit which he could not fit all the way down its mouth, at least not at the time of the siting.

I headed into town for the 4th of July celebration and decided to take my camera as boy, have I been meeting some characters this year. Well, I ended up at a place called Benson's where they had Guinness on tap. I soon met locals Angie and Tony who had come in for the BBQ ribs and "to celebrate the 4th". Boy did we. Everytime I turned around I had a shot or another Guinness in front of me. Hadn't drank like that since last summer here in Salida. Isn't Tony the spittin image of that guy in the movie Braveheart who was William Wallace's best friend? Tony is Scottish as well. Anyhow, the two of them and a bunch of other locals and I just got tore down. Tony has his finger in the Moose's nostril. Classy touch huh? Also, check out the "head" on the's, of course, supposed to be a 3 leaf clover, but we thought it looked like something else (use your imagination). I told the bartender "Nutter" she had better stick with 4-leaf clovers in the future so there would be no controversy.

The guys in charge of the fireworks must have been partying as well. They started at least 2 fires on the mountain side and got so busy putting them out they decided it might be best not to set off the "grand finale". Heh heh heh, cracked me up but most others seemed dissapointed.
Today was the brewfest, but I was so hungover I didn't feel like going. First Salida brewfest I have missed in many years. Oh well, at least I didn't drop another $100 in town...
Colorado is a place of coincidences. I've mentioned the Grateful Dead coincidences in the past. Today, the guys I met up at the Fryingpan River with the blind labrador showed up here at Sugarbush. You should see this dog get around. The guy couldn't figure out why the dog wouldn't leave my campsite, so I told him about the bear and then he understood. Later, when I went into town, some guy at the gas station asked me to open his gas flap. I said something like "huh?" in my hungover state as I couldn't understand why he couldn't do it himself. He said the spring is busted so when he pulls the gas-flap latch by the steering wheel, the damn thing doesn't pop out like it's supposed to. I laughed and helped him out. Two hours later, I decided to see if I could work off my hangover by going four-wheeling up Kerr Gulch to see if I can find Stout Creek Lake, which is rumoured to have nice cutthroat trout since it is so hard to get to. So, I am winding my way up the mountain and I think I am all alone when I run up on the back of another Toyota - a Land Cruiser. I think boy that looks familiar. Well, we get to talking at a particularly rough patch of the road. It's a couple and two love-bird youngsters. I say to the guy, you look familiar. He says so do you. Long story short it was the guy with the busted gas latch from the Conoco station. So, we partnered up the two Toyotas and head up the mountain side on this half lane road. This guy is serious too and his woman and the two kids were really into the adventure. We pull up to two big pine trees down across the road and I think, well, this is as far as we go. Next thing I know, the guy's out winching trees and we are soon off again - a real pathfinder kinda guy. I assume he's trying to fish the lakes too. We finally get to the point where the road was unpassable, and I say, well, we're gonna have to hike to the lake from here. He says "what lake"? "Aren't you trying to get to Stout Creek Lake to catch some trout?" I ask. He says "hell no, we just thought we'd follow this road up the mountain as far as it would go!" What a panic. Anyhow, at this point I popped open a Moosehead, and sure as the hair of the dog, my hangover finally subsided. We never made it to the lake, but boy I wish I hadn't left my camera in the trailer as this guy, Brodie, was a real character. He got real tickled when we evidently took a wrong turn somewhere and came upon a sign that said "If you moroons (sic) made it this far, just turn around and go back now before you get shot". His woman took a picture of the sign and I wish I had had my camera too. What I really needed on this adventure was a GPS unit. I might have to get myself one for Christmas.

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