Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How we spent our weekend

It was the DM's first opportunity to experience the madness that is FIBArk, the annual whitewater festival (now 60 years old) that invades our little town each June. We spent more time down at the park this year than I ever have before, taking in events and music and eating bad fair food.

As always, the Hooligan Race was a favorite: Homemade water craft and the crazy people who built them trying to navigate the whitewater park and make it under the F Street bridge. Think duct tape and empty milk bottles.

There was a little concern this year that the river would be too high and fast for the Hooligan. We had record snowfall last winter, and the week before the race the water was coming through town at 4000cfs. Exciting, but potentially dangerous. But it seems the river gods smiled on the festival once again. We had a couple of cooler days just before everything got started, which slowed the snow melt and lowered the flow. So they say. Today the flow is back up. Methinks there were some control issues in play at the headwaters reservoirs. But what do I know?

Sunday we decided was Adventure Day for the DM. Time to show him some more of his adopted new state. After a couple of delays (we're still learning how to organize together) we packed a lunch, loaded up the car and headed south in to the San Luis Valley.

First stop, Great Sand Dunes National Park, one of the great hidden wonders of our area. Medano Creek was filled with a greater flow than I'd ever experienced... it was wonderful to wade through the damp sand and pulsing stream. We started up the dunes on the other side, but found the sand already entirely too hot for a leisurely stroll in inappropriate footwear. Next time.

Since we were most of the way there, we cruised through the town of Alamosa. Half again as large as Salida, but aside from a few more chain stores, you'd hardly know it. Sunday afternoon, Father's Day. Quiet.

On the way home we OF COURSE stopped at the UFO Watchtower. This quirky icon of the San Luis Valley is run by a couple who gave up on both the city and on ranching. Strange things are said to happen in The Valley, so Judy and Stan decided they'd test out the adage "build it and they will come." Eight years later they're still at it, hosting an annual conference and nightly campers.

We waved goodbye to many kayak-laden vehicles headed AWAY from our little town as we dawdled our way back over Poncha Pass. It's good to get away... and it's great to come home.

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