Ready for the bike ride
Brandon and Kathy
Evening at the club
Colorado Reunion - August 2006
From Mountain Biking to River Rafting
Each year five former roommates from Rice University try to get together for a reunion. Often we and our wives meet at Mac's lake house in Austin, Texas. Some of us water ski and some of us swim and ride in the boat. And mostly we visit and catch up on what has happened during the past year.
In 2006, we decided to try something different - we met at Mac's father's house in Arrowhead, near Beaver Creek, Colorado. The plan was to try some of Colorado's summer time outdoor activities, as opposed to the winter snow skiing which some of us enjoy there each March.
Four of the five couples were able to come - Mac and Dava McWhorter, Tim and Martha O'Connell, Brandon and Kathy Jones, Don and Lois Porter. Unfortunately, Glenn and Denise Brown couldn't make it.
Arrowhead - Beautiful Summer or Winter
On Tuesday, most of us flew into Denver. Some of us spent the next hour
trying to get all of our luggage into the car. We drove to Arrowhead and
found the house to be even more inviting in the summer than in the winter.
The grass was green and the flowers were blooming. We were all impressed with
the many shades of green and the colorful flowers in and around Arrowhead.
Thursday brought our first outdoor adventure - a 14 mile bike ride from the
top of Vail Pass down to the town of Frisco on Lake Dillon. Some of us were
apprehensive when we picked up our bikes and tried to adjust them.
On Friday we headed out for our next outdoor activity - we drove to a trail
head above Beaver Creek Village for some hiking. We had picked a trail that
we thought would be initially uphill and then mostly downhill. While waiting
for the others to come up to the trail head by bus, Kathy and I took some
pictures of the aspens and flowers on the mountain.
The first part of the trail was steep enough that many of us got pretty winded. By the time we got to the more gradual rise seen below, we were about ready to turn back. But seeing the aspens and the babbling brook (as well as being intimidated by the others who were in better shape) kept us going.
More than once we thought we might be lost. But our hike leaders studied the trail guide and we persevered until we came out on the hill under the Strawberry Park lift.
We stopped for a group photo before heading down. Then we rode the chair lift up to Spruce Saddle and had lunch outside in the bright sunshine.
That night Kathy and I cooked dinner. The menu included a radicchio with butter lettuce salad, sauteed zucchini and char-crusted pork medallions with raspberry wine sauce. During dinner it rained fairly hard. Then when the clouds cleared, there was a magnificent rainbow.
Our activity for Saturday was boating. We rented a pontoon boat on Lake
Dillon. We had considered renting a sail boat, but thought it wouldn't be as
roomy or relaxing (and there wasn't much wind). Kathy took the picture of the
lone sail boat on the right.
As we started out, the weather was still fairly nice. Several of us (mostly Dava) took pictures of happy faces. Then the rains came and it turned colder. We all bundled up (except for Mac) and headed for home. That night we had a great dinner at Juniper.
On Sunday, the planned activity was white water rafting. But the location
was over the mountains; so we drove to Leadville (over the scary bridge seen
on the left) and stopped for lunch. As we were eating, two dogs in a motorcycle drove
up. We couldn't resist the photo opportunity.
When we arrived at the guide's office, they outfitted us with wet suits, boots, life jackets and helmets. We struggled to get everything on and adjusted. After we got all of our gear sorted out, the guides drove us and the rafts to the put in point on the Arkansas river. They gave us some paddling instruction; and then before we took off we couldn't resist posing for a group photo.
The next thing we knew, we were heading down the river. About 30 minutes later we were approaching the first rapids. Heather told us to paddle as hard as we could. We tried. We got wet.
Two and a half hours and many, many rapids later, we reached the take out point. We had survived! That night we had dinner at the club in Arrowhead and Dava took pictures of each couple. We surely look different that we did in our wet suits.
On Monday, Don and Lois flew out early. The rest of us had to have one
last outdoor adventure. So we drove down to Glenwood Springs to rent bikes
from Canyon Bikes. They drove us and the bikes the 16 miles back up Glenwood
Canyon to the start of the mostly downhill trail.
As we rode down, we stopped often to look up at the canyon walls and the road above us. The scenery on this trail was magnificent and very different from that on the Vail Pass trail. For much of this ride, we were next to the river. At one point, we saw white water rafters putting in for a ride down the river. After the uphill run near the end of the trail, we were in almost as bad a shape as the wagon that we passed. But we made it all the way back.
The next day we flew home - tired but satisfied.
|C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
|updated November 27, 2006|