Rau: Bike groups, river update, users fees at work
Grand County Trails
The pink in the clouds made the evening complete as the Princess riders met at the St. Louis campground Tuesday evening for a ride up Creekside and down Flume. This is one of my favorite evening mountain bike rides and I have done it many times over the years with the Ladies Rides. But as I get older or more involved in work or whatever, we don’t have as much passion for the iconic Tipperary or always having the fast pace pedal to the metal ride or just plain can’t keep up. So this year the Ladies have several groups available. The really hardcore group is usually led by Christina Russell and meets Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. at various locations. The Princess Ride is usually led by me and meets Wednesdays at 6 p.m. but we ride at a slower pace and stop more often to look at the scenery. The Morning Glory ride is usually led by Jill Suffin and they meet at 10 a.m. on Thursdays. So we gals now have more options – Check the Facebook page – Grand County Womens’ Mountain Bikers each week to see where the different groups are meeting and just come on out! Thanks Christina for getting this together…
With the hot dry weather, many of us take to the water or lakes. The high spring flows are over and our days on the Fraser River or Byers Canyon are done for this year. The exciting water of the Upper Colorado has settled down to a steady flow now falling below 2,000 CFS. This is a great level for people with rafts of all sizes, inflatable kayaks or duckies, paddleboards, and even tubes. The section from Pumphouse to Radium can be like bumperboats on a hot dry Saturday or Sunday with many people trying their courage leaping from jump rock while others soak in the hot springs and cheer them on. Fishermen still manage to hook and release sizable fish in these gold medal waters and more and more people are in dories or casting from the shores. Families love this great way to be with their kids and will float for an hour and camp at the many sites available from Pumphouse to Radium, to Rancho, State Bridge, Two Bridges, Catamount, Pinball, Dotzero and even to Glenwood Canyon. Lower parts of the river are less crowded and the smaller class one and two rapids are great for families with younger children or people learning to row or paddle. Several of these areas mentioned are BLM recreation areas and some even have ADA campsites. This is your $5 per vehicle parking fee charged by BLM at work. Google Upper Colorado River Guide by BLM for detailed information or purchase one in the Kremmling office. Just don’t forget your life jacket!
Vast improvements have been made since these user fees began. The BLM promised they would use the funds to improve launch and takeout ramps, facilities and recreation areas and I can only praise the improvements made. Last weekend, Tim Rau’s memorial float trip Pumphouse to Radium was a great success and our floats (we went back up and did it again!) and picnic couldn’t have been better. Hint: there are less people on the river later in the afternoon and evenings and the sun is not as fierce. But be sure to have something for the mosquitoes, whether bug spray or just light clothes. You don’t want to be the meal that night!
My love of flowers has gotten me into trouble. I love to share what I know or have learned but what I know is sometimes too general. Like all flower names are supposed to be capitalized – I should have known that. Paintbrush is normally red unless it is a Sulphur Paintbrush which is actually white. Buckwheat is not off white but called Creamy Buckwheat. And Wild Roses do grow everywhere – we just have a lot of them in the mountains. So please take my references to flowers as more general. Like Asters – I’m told there are over 200 varieties. But to me that gorgeous purple flower in my yard that resembles a daisy is a beautiful Aster. So I’m going to apologize to my guru Patricia Berman and leave the specifics to her.
Tip of the week
Here is Patricia Berman’s tip for the week – The wildflowers on the Mt. Flora trail are at the height of their bloom including Big-Rooted Springbeauty. These are found higher on the peak among the boulder fields and rock crevices. There are beautiful displays of Alpine Avens and Rydbergia (Old Man of the Mountain).
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Due to current public health guidance, there will not be an in-person wilderness campsite lottery for Rocky Mountain National Park this year.