There is something special about the first boating trip of the year. For me, it seems to come earlier and earlier each year, and prior to this weekend, I had already been on the water 6 days including Confluenza on the South Platte, my adventures in California, and Waterton Canyon. Last year, I kicked off the season with Scott and Robert with a fantastic trip down to the Arkansas River Valley for the closing day at Monarch ski mountain followed by a day boating down the Royal Gorge. This year, Scott and I decided it was time to do it again, but Jennifer joined us in place of Robert and we decided to mix up the boating a little bit! It was also a great opportunity to test out my Panasonic TS3 waterproof camera that has Full HD video, although I decided to tone it down a bit with ‘just’ 720p video
We skied at Monarch on Saturday in spring conditions and hopped in our kayaks mid-day to race down the mountain in the Boatercross event! Scott and I competed in a field of 40 boaters with heats of 4 people racing down a course that ended at a pool of water just before the finish line. The course wasn’t steep, but there was mayhem on the slope as we spun each other out in hopes of reaching the bottom first. After 2 rounds, Scott and I were eliminated and it was time for a beer and more skiing. Still, I’m happy to now say that I have kayaked down a ski slope! Check out a quick video clip of the second heat when Scott and I competed against each other.
After we wrapped up skiing, we headed off to the Salida play park for almost 2 more hours of kayaking. It was great to get out in my new Jackson Villain S for the first time, even though there was only 220 cfs. Apart from last year’s Pole Pedal Paddle event, I had never skied and kayaked in the same day, but Springtime in Colorado is really wonderful that way! We wrapped up the day with dinner at Benson’s and the always classy Salida East for car camping.
Sunday, we took our time in the morning to let the weather warm and enjoyed a lazy breakfast at the Boathouse. Around noon, we finally put on Parkdale at 340 cfs and played our way down the boney rapids for several hours. At the conclusion, a mild take-out party ensued in the warm afternoon where we discovered that the weather in the Front Range was not so favorable with snow and freezing temperatures! Eventually, we had to face reality, snowy roads, and the upcoming work week. But for the time being, we chilled out, sipped our beers, and enjoyed the first boating trip of the year…
Don’t forget to check out some photos from the weekend!