Ready for the bike ride

Ready for the bike ride

Brandon and Kathy

"Explorations"

Evening at the club

Evening at the club


Mountain Biking

Mountain Hiking

Boating

White Water Rafting

More Mountain Biking

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

Denver airport

Arrowhead house

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.

Arrowhead entrance
Arrowhead entrance

Many shades of green
Many shades of green

Flowers of every color
Flowers of every color

Arrowhead golf course


On Wednesday, Mac and Tim played golf. The rest of us who were there went to the gym or the spa, took pictures around the neighborhood, read or just relaxed. That evening Don and Lois arrived at the Eagle-Vail airport - we would be ready to start the serious outdoor activities the next morning.

Mountain Biking

Mac and Lois get bikes

Tim and Martha

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.

Mac and Dava
Mac and Dava

Don and Lois
Don and Lois

Starting down
Preparing to start down

Kathy
Kathy

Stopping to look
Stopping to look

Mountain scenery
Mountain scenery

Mountain stream
Mountain stream

Keep pedaling
Keep pedaling

Finish in Frisco
Finish in Frisco

Mountain Hiking

Aspens

Flowers

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.

Trail
Trail

Stream
Stream

Studying the map
Studying the map

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.

Strawberry Park lift
Strawberry Park lift

Group photo
Group photo

Spruce Saddle
Lunch at Spruce Saddle

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.

Cooking
Cooking

Table setting
Table setting

Pork medallions
Pork medallions

The chefs
The chefs

Eating well
Eating well

Rainbow
Rainbow

Boating on a Mountain Lake

Rental boats

Sailboat

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.

Pleasant weather
Pleasant weather

Cool but dry
Cool but dry

Dava
Dava

Mac
Mac

Kathy
Kathy

Brandon
Brandon

Lois
Lois

Don
Don

Martha
Martha

Tim
Tim

Cold
Cold

and wet
and wet

White Water Rafting

Bridge

Dogs in motorcycle

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.

Get into wet suits
Get into wet suits

and life jackets
and life jackets

and helmets
and helmets

Instructions
Instructions

Our guide Heather
Our guide Heather

The group
The group

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.

Heather steers
Heather steers

and we paddle
and we paddle

and look at the scenery
and look at the scenery

The rapids
The rapids

are rough
are rough

and wet
and 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.

We made it
We made it

and we still look happy
and we still look happy

Brandon and Kathy
Brandon and Kathy

Mac and Dava
Mac and Dava

Don and Lois
Don and Lois

Tim and Martha
Tim and Martha

More Mountain Biking

At the start

At the start

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.

Glenwood Canyon
Glenwood Canyon

River
River

Red cliffs
Red cliffs

Looking up
Looking up

Rafts putting in
Rafts putting in

Wagon
Settler's wagon

The next day we flew home - tired but satisfied.

divider

C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
updated November 27, 2006