29 June, 2009

Steamboat Springs

So check it out. 5 families (with as many camp sites), 12 kids, and 1 dog composed this particular entourage whose purpose was to celebrate friendship under the matronage (?) of mother nature via Steamboat Springs. There's a special place in Melissa and my hearts with another town in Colorado called Crested Butte; but Steamboat is a very close second. Melissa being the planner extraordinaire that she is, planned a stop time at the city owned Hot Springs Pool. It was sublime vegetating in the 100° F (give or take a few degrees) as the cold rain came down. What I like is the evaporative cooling effect with such a difference (in temperature) between the pool and the ambient air. Hardly anybody was here. They also had a covered slide. I think they covered it to increase the sensory deprivation and hence the rush the riders would get because they have no idea how it snakes down to the pool. The only clues you get are the g-turns your body experiences as it high sides the tunnel's turns then boom you hit the water. Kids dig it but adults with inner-ear problems like me, not so much. If an amusement park ride goes round and round? Forget it, it'll be projectile vomit city for me. It sucks when the water's hot and the surrounding air is hot as well. That wasn't the case today as the chilly rain came down and pummeled us with ice cold droplets and the pool cancelled its bite in a very therapeutic way. We arrived there at 1 p.m. and our goal was to leave by 4. It was closer to 5 when we left. So off we got to find our campsite some 20 miles away, at Steamboat Lake.

The drive there is surreal. All the rains make the open range look as if it was an outdoor scene from The Sound Of Music. If you've never been to NY City, the first thing you do is to look upward, amazed at the skyscrapers and the architectural aesthetics associated with such civil engineered, monoliths. That's how our family was too. Completely in awe, geeking at the beautiful landscape (and we live here!). As luck would have it, when we drive to our actual campsite it's raining sheets. The timing was such that when we took out the tent and its accompanying aluminum, sectional shafts, the tent (and ironically the rainfly), footprint, and the poor saps trying to put it up in record time got soaked! As quickly as it entered, it left just as quick leaving us puddles and a quickly erected but wet tent. The exiting rains left a rainbow as a parting gift for our campsite.

The rest of the day was spent (for the adults): catching up, and for the guys I brought a baseball and two mitts, so Sjef, Pablo, and I took turns playing catch. Throwing a baseball and catching is pretty darn therapeutic too. Pablo used to play district baseball back in Argentina so he would get some pretty hard but accurate throws in. Night was spent drinking and eating some pretty tasty stuff and our cue to throw in the towel for the evening? Another rain storm...
Our kids were up pretty late playing with the other kids and I was hoping that they would sleep in. To check out who's still sleeping, Mason-whose face is right against mine with big, alert eyes-is waiting for me to open my eyes and he says, "Daddy, I need to use the bathroom." Well, guess I'm getting up. After we do our bodily functions, we walk our campsite area and I fire off some pictures of the beauty surrounding us. The rain brings out the wildflowers too.
Tetraneuria ivesiana aka Perky Sue

Our view of Steamboat Lake

We go for a hike to the swimming beach at Steamboat Lake and the singletrack there is stunning as well. After a quick lunch, Melissa plans out another hike at a place called Mad Creek and our reward to the top of his singletrack is a structure called the Mad Barn. All the tough kids complete the 4 mile roundtrip uphill/downhill hike. Mason had an assist in the form of piggy-back rides on the sustained ascent from yours truly and sweet Melissa. We hit the town for ice cream and as we're waiting to cross the street; a woman eating an ice cream cone says to us, "They have $1 cones inside." Yeah, so that's what we do inside Lyon Drug.

Night comes and as our traditional campfire treat the kids as well as the adults make and eat a butt-load of S'mores. I am putting on potential energy for the Firecracker 50 by consuming an inordinate amount of S'mores (melted marshmallows with Hershey's® chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers). The Firecracker's a 50 mile (80.5 km) mt. bike race in Breckenridge, Colorado on the Fourth of July. Peep dis: each lap is 25 miles (40 km) long and has 5400 vertical feet (1,646 km) of climbing-the individual does this twice (as compared to a two-person team where each person does a lap each-weenies)! The highest elevation is about 12,000 feet (3,658 m). Not only is endurance my problem, but this elevation does wonders for the oxygen delivery system. Hemoglobin's close to being oxygen saturated but it just can't deliver (release) it to the primary movers due to the lack of partial pressures at this elevation; but my fat stores'll be good to go with another S'more.
Sunday we hit the hot springs pool one more time and stay 'til 5 pm. We eat pizza from Blue Sage Pizza in town (recommended by a local), wash it down with beers at a town park called "Toots Park" and plan out another lovely camping trip. Again we're mesmerized by the scenery as we head back home. For music as beautiful as our scenery, we start off with John Coltrane's Ballads. 6 days 'til Firecracker 50 (aka PAIN!).

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