More visitors arrived to help us enjoy our second week in Colorado. Rosemary and Bill Clark, friends from San Antonio, arrived on Saturday. On Sunday, after lunch at Bongo Billy's Salida Cafe, they helped us run the shuttle for a kayaking trip on the Arkansas River ending in town. The photo shows them and Kathy at our launching point, the Big Bend river access. The river flow was down to about 300 cfs, so we encountered many shallow areas.
It was a pleasant run of about six miles. The river carried us along, with most of our paddling used for steering and attempting to stay in the deeper channels. The mountains provided a nice backdrop to the river scenery.
The County Road 166 bridge had its own charm.
About two thirds of the way to Salida, we arrived at a low-head dam used to divert water to a fish hatchery. A three-drop boat chute on river left provided a way around the dam. Kathy heads over the first drop in the photo above.
The bow of her kayak briefly dives underwater, ...
... then resurfaces in an explosion of water.
Kathy disappears over the second drop, then waves after making it safely past the third. After I followed her through, we finished the run to downtown Salida. Once again, I was careless at the very end, this time in front of a crowd. As I made the turn into an eddy just past a drop, the kayak flipped over and I was forced to practice my wet exit technique a second time. At least the boat, the paddle, the small ice chest with my camera, and I all ended up together in the same eddy. Only my pride was injured.
Of course, I had to carry the kayak back upstream to run the drop again - this time without any extra excitement.
Loading our gear into the van.
After another dinner at Amicas, we watched the sunset from our deck in Garfield that evening. This photo shows the view east back down to the Arkansas Valley and Salida.
Pete and Carol Berg, fellow Rice alumni who live in Ft. Collins, joined us on Monday. We all had breakfast at the lodge restaurant on Tuesday.
As with all newcomers, the Clarks had to be taken to Old Monarch Pass to enjoy the view from the continental divide. In the view east shown above, Mt. Taylor (on the left) and Monarch Ridge frame two Fourteeners in the background, Tabeguache Mountain (14,155') and Mount Shavano (14,229'). Sally and I reached the top of Shavano ten or eleven years ago. For a good description and photos of the route up that mountain, click here.
David and Louise Eisenhauer drove over from Manitou Springs on Tuesday to join in on the fun. Here they are with Kathy on the deck of the Cliffside Cabin.
I arose early on Thursday morning to enjoy the sunrise. Actually, the real purpose was to discover exactly how a small family of bats was gaining entry to the space behind the siding of the cabin. I wanted to be there when the adults returned to the nest after a night of feeding. These bats had an amazing ability to squeeze into the narrowest of gaps.
On our own again after all of our guests had headed home, Kathy and I drove up Taylor Gulch. We had attempted to do that with David and Louise the day before, but hadn't gone quite far enough down the highway to find the correct turnoff onto the dirt road leading up to the base of Taylor Mountain. About a mile up the road, we came to the remains of Garfield Mine.
Further up the road, we arrived at the site of a marble quarry. There were three large mounds of crushed marble, sorted according to the size of the pieces. We had noticed that a lot of roads and driveways in the Garfield area sported patches of white marble gravel.
About 15 years ago, this quarry was being operated by one man. We would see him driving an empty dump truck up the road across the highway from Garfield. Many hours later, he would return with a truck full of marble boulders. He had a front end loader parked up at the quarry. When we visited with him briefly while hiking up past the quarry one day, we discovered that his wife had once taught at the old schoolhouse in Garfield. This is now the Amen Schoolhouse, enjoyed by the family for over 30 years.
After proceeding as far as we could in the van, Kathy and I hiked a little further up the road to find a nice spot for lunch. From there we could see the old Lilly Mine further up the mountain.
Some large marble boulders served as our table and chairs. Here is Kathy in a very unusual pose - eating. This ended up being my final photo of our trip. Two days later, we departed Garfield and headed back home to San Antonio.