Saturday, April 17, 2010

A little of Colorado Un poco de Colorado

Uncle Tim goes to the mountains

Getting ready to get ready

I had a hunch when I left my beloved La Vida Nueva in Port Isabel, Texas, it was going to be a long time before I could get back.  I was right.  The recession and some foolish mistakes have cost me dearly.  I am in Denver trying to fix things but the fixing isn't going fast!  Bummer!

Friend, Melquiades Ortiz, on top of treacherous Loveland Pass!

As I mentioned in prior blogs, one thing I miss in most sailing blogs are the roots.  Where did my fellow sailors come from and how is it they ended up in the sea?  You will get a good idea of where I came from if you subscribe to this blog!

This entry  is about a trip I made to Breckenridge, Colorado.  I have also been involved with the immigrants rights movement and that is taking some time, and helping me keep my thoughts off of my rotten fortune.  

The Argo Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  Considering mining is
unprofitable in the U.S., the owners turned to mining tourists instead of gold these days!

Most of you know my story by now.  I started my sailing trip on Lake Dillon high in the Colorado Rockies.  I brought the boat down the snake River, thereby joining the Colorado river.  I sailed down the Colorado, along the same route as John Wesley Powell.  Better said, I mostly bounced my 37 foot Tayana through the deeps and shallows. 

Melquiades keeps the Statute of
Military hero Dan Conners company

Eventually, I was able to sail onto Lake Powell.  What a spectacular place to sail!  But the lake is way down and you have to watch the depth sounder with great care!  I left Lake Powell at Page, Arizona, and soon after passing Laughlin, Nevada, was able to find a canal deep enough to head East.  It was a hell of a trip spanning many weeks.  I daresay, it compares with the more popular great loop, but because of the Continental Divide it is one way in and one way out!  Actually, I am not sure you could get in.  Getting out is all down hill!

Mason 'd Ski.  Good folks, at least when
I was getting my snow legs 35 years ago!  It is Still around today!

Skiing became one of our big tourist attractions
after soldiers who trained at camp Hale in Colorado
 came back from the war and decided to try it just for fun!

When people spot my home port of "Breckenridge, Colorado", painted on the stern of La Vida Nueva, they smile.  Most don't believe anyone could get a blue water sailor with a six foot draft down the route I describe and they probably have good reason to doubt my claims.  It makes for a great yarn and maybe it happened that way!

My friend, Melquiades Ortiz, joined me for a drive from Denver to Breckenridge, Colorado.  Let me tell you a little known truth about the "Big D" as we call it.  Considering the harsh weather, I don't see why anyone would live there during the God forsaken winter unless they were getting high on weed and skiing every day, or they were simply trapped!  

Monument to mining 

Driving Up Loveland Pass

Melquieades pushes his Dodge Durango up the hill

Summer is very different.  Still, if it were not for the Mountains, you would have to be plain nuts to stake your claim in Denver.  Clearly, when you hear a cool mountain stream flowing by your feet, inhale gulps of crisp mountain air, and watch a cutthroat rise to a fly, the insanity of living in the "Big D" starts to make sense!  In the winter, falling into the marshmallow powder of a deep snow while skiing leaves one with the same conclusion.  The beauty and peace which nature brings to life makes the "Big D" all worth it.  The only thing close to it is El Mar.  That is Spanish for the sea!

Loveland Pass summit

Once you reach the summit of Loveland Pass there is a stairway into the sky.  After making it to the top of the stairs you feel like you are in heaven.  Needless to say, I have had a few spiritual experiences after huffing my way to the top!

Melquiades and I decided to take the old route to Brecky. That took us over Loveland Pass, long feared by truckers and flat landers during snow storms, as one of the most treacherous roads in the country. If you make it up the Colorado River one day be sure to call me and I will come meet you and give you a hearty pat on the back and a quick tour of the mountains!

Stairs into the sky!

We are going up there?  He asked with wide eyes!
Melquiades makes the summit!

I made the summit, too!  (Of course!)

After we froze our nuts off in the wind as it ripped through our clothes, we trekked down to the road, hopped back into the Durango, and started the descent from the mountain peak.  The scenery is breath taking, the cold mountain air stops you in your tracks, and the trip was a total blast!

Once we made it down the steep grades of Loveland Pass we came to spectacular Lake Dillon.  As beautiful as the Lake is, a boat the size of mine is a lot happier splashing in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico!

Lake Dillion Cut Disappears into the snow!  The ice will clear in a few weeks!

Today, the last day of ski season, Lake Dillon disappears into the mountain fog and snow.  The Lake takes a sharp turn and runs down the valley towards Dillion.

If you get your boat up the Colorado river to Lake Dillion, be sure to look me up!  It is well worth a side trip up this way!