Colorado Trip 2006 by Sam Baudoux

Colorado Trip 2006 by Sam Baudoux

Colorado Trip 2006

June 29th – July 9th

Boaters/Swimmers: Sam & Bob Baudoux, Jen Franko, Mary Knierman, Noel Altares, Deb Broderick, Jason Harkobusic, Kurt Knuth, MJ, Jamie Burkett, and Ross/Happy Something


Thursday June 29th:

The trip to Colorado. We decided that it would be just as easy to drive than it would be to fly, which we had done the last 2 years. Mary, Jen, and Jason met me (Sam) at my house in Monroeville where we would depart from at about 2:00pm. After we loaded boats, gear, etc, we were on the way. Jamie and Ross had left the night before and took their time getting there. The rest of the crew was planning on leaving that evening.

We set out at about 2:45pm and were rolling pretty good for a while until we hit Pittsburgh traffic!! We sat in traffic for a while, eventually made it through, and were on our way. As soon as we exited Pittsburgh, the phones started ringing. You see, Kurt and MJ were also driving out, but they were driving separate vehicles so they could leave one at Kurt’s recently purchased shack in Breckinridge, CO. They wanted to meet up with us about ½ way so they could have a couple peop’s from our vehicle for come company on the other ½ of the drive. Bob’s crew ended up leaving Pittsburgh around 7:30pm We drove through the night, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and met up with Kurt & MJ in Topeka, Kansas at about 5:00am Friday morning.


Friday June 30th:

After a brief chat at Kurt and MJ’s hotel discussing all the gnarr we were gonna run all week, I hopped in with Kurt and Mary with MJ to finish the trip. Man, let me tell you freakin Kansas is a long state. About 500 miles long with nothing but grain and corn fields. Once we hit Limon, CO we were going to stop for gas and a quick bite. As we pulled in to the rest stop Kurt’s clutch in his truck quit working. We sat around for about 1-2 hours trying to bleed the clutch, keep out of the sun, and trying our hardest to keep our eye’s away Kurt’s junk hanging out of his shorts as he worked under the vehicle. We soon realized that we had no Idea what the hell we were doing and decided to give Kurt a push start so he could go the local repair shop. To make a long story short, we followed Kurt around from one station to another push starting him each time as they turned him down one after another. Kurt finally gave up casue no body would work on his truck and he decided to drive the truck to Denver with no clutch. Rumor has it that he did not have to stop the vehicle until he was 3 lights deep into Denver at the repair garage. The rest of the crew headed to Buena Vista(final destination). On our way to the cabin we picked up a Godzilla (pizza) and a 30 pack to relax after the 28 hour trip / fiasco.

Jamie and Ross were already there with the love shack (back of the jeep & Canopy) set up in the front yard.

Bob’s crew showed up around midnight.

Saturday July 1st:


Saturday morning we decided to do run down Browns Canyon of the Arkansas. Bob convinced everyone to paddle an extra 3 miles of river past the usual take out to hit one more rapid, Sidel’s Suck Hole. Though nobody really wanted to paddle the extra 3 miles, we all agreed cause Bob had been bugging us to do so for the last 3 years. All was going well until Jamie decided to flip in a real boney rapid, do the whole thing upside down, bash her head and face off of about 20 rocks, do a couple turtles, couple carps, and a headwheel(plant head firmly on a rock and rotate 360 degrees.) We got Jamie and her gear to shore, she was ok, and we continued on. At zoom flume, probably the largest rapid on this section of river, we came down one by one and eddied out about half way down the rapid. The last one in was Deb and it appeared that Noel didn’t think to kindly of the idea of Deb overfilling the eddy. Noel swung his paddle and smacked Deb right in the lip splitting it wide open, and then peeled out like a bat out of hell. After a quick break to adjust Deb’s outfitting we were on the way. Bob, Jason, Jen, and Myself continued on to Sidel’s Suck Hole while the rest of the crew took out at the normal take out. No more carnage. The day ended with dinner at Amika’s in Salida, CO and we watched “Old School” at the ranch.


Sunday July 2nd:

The plan was to head over the mountain by way of Cottonwood Pass, Paddle the Taylor Gorge, Upper East, and O’Be Joyful. We were also meeting up with Kurt and MJ for the day. Once we met at Poncho’s for breakfast, we headed over the pass. We stopped at the top for some pics and off to the Taylor. Mary was having some sort of morning sickness, she elected not to paddle. We all thought, Morning Sickness, hum, wander what that could be, maybe a Little Dickie Wickie on the way, but Mary advised against it. We put on and had a nice little trip. MJ tore it up in the thrill seeker. About ¼ of the way down you hit the only defined rapid on the river, the rest is bogey water. Jamie missed the eddy, went for an upside down swirly / turtle on on the eddy line in the middle of the rapid and swam. Nice back stroke girl. Jamie decided that this river was not for her and walked off. Ross joined her for the walk and the rest continued on. The crew split up and we were later informed that Deb had went for a Space Godzilla but ended up body deep under an undercut clawing for freedom. She made her way out and finished the trip. At the take out we loaded boats and headed for the upper east. Ross and Jamie said that they would meet us in Crested Butte, but they were never to be seen again. Bob, Jen, Jason, Noel, Kurt, MJ, and Myself paddled the east while Mary and Deb ran shuttle. Deb would have ran it but she had outfitting problems, her thigh braces were not in the right place. It was a nice run, and a water level that Bruce B. would be more than proud of!! Deb picked us up at the take out and drove us back like the stinkin dukes of hazard. She managed to bounce 2 people out of the back of the truck and also get the truck stuck nearly ripping the rear differential off the thing. It was an interesting drive. Now to OBJ. Kurt was pumped. Myself and Jen advised Kurt that we would consider it if we could hook up with a local to show us down. At the take out we chatted with a few locals that seemed pretty nice and we figured that they would let us hook up with them. We geared up and started the hike. You see, we had no vehicle that could forge the slate river and drive to the take out, so we had to hike 1 ½ miles, gaining about 500ft, to the put in. It was a long hike with the creek boats. We talked to some locals on the way up and in so many words they told us that there wasn’t a chance in hell that they would escort a few yoball east coast boaters down OBJ. We were bound and determined and elected to continue the hike to the put in. Once there, we did some scouting and decided to run it, sike!! We took the walk of shame. We shouldered our boats and headed back down the hill. Of course, everyone we passed that asked us how the run way, we replied “Sweet”, “Sick”, “Gnarly”, well you get the point. We loaded boats and headed for Mexican in Crested Butte.


Monday July 3st:

We decided that today would be the day for the Numbers section of the Arkansas River. Deb was having outfitting problems right off the bat, she got them figured out and we hit the river. Mary’s morning sickness had subsided and she planned on paddling. At #1 (first rapid) Mary eddied out, flipped, and played upside down in the rocks for a while before she went for a swim. She emerged from the water with barf rocketing from the depths of her throat in an arch that covered about 30ft in distance. What a site, she made a rainbow with barf. Deb offered to walk out with Mary if she wanted to, and so they did. So again, it was Bob, Jen, Jason, Noel, and Myself to finish the river. Noel tore it up, aced it, and advised that the pucker factor was bending the needle on the pucker gauge. We went back to the ranch, made some Chili and watched “Me Myself & Irene.”


Tuesday July 4nd:

Today, everyone went for an acclimation hike in anticipation of climbing Castle Peak on Thursday. Well, almost everyone, I stayed home, power napped, read the paper, grieved over the previous day’s activities, and watched tennis on a TV with the reception so poor that I could not see the tennis ball. The crew hiked up Alpine Pass to see the train tunnel. They advised that the tunnel looked as if it had been covered by an avalanche for at least 10 years. Due to the lack of scenery at the tunnel, they decided to hike further to a majestic mountain lake, high in the mountains. The hiked another hour or so to the lake only to find it had dried up, bummer. Upon returning, we headed to Salida play holes to show the west coast boaters what the east coast window shade was all about, and we sure did. Bob, Jen, Jason, and Myself were the only ones who played while the others watched on. We were each brain douched so many times that we lost count. We did not impress anyone, but we tried. Jason tried to loop and ended up looking like he was doing the worm in his boat, pretty funny. We ate at the park in Salida and headed back to the ranch to watch Anchorman.


Wednesday July 5th:

Today we headed for the Royal Gorge. After the long shuttle, we put on the river. Mary was having he morning sickness and Deb was having outfitting problems by the first rapid, so they walked off to meet us at the take out. This is where the fiasco began. At the first large rapid, Sunshine, Jen and Myself paddled through so Noel and Jason could see the line. Once we did this, we both got out and perched ourselves on a couple rocks to take pictures of Bob, Jason, and Noel. Here they came, they all grabbed an eddy on the right about ½ way down. To exit the eddy you needed to ferry out low to avoid a hole at the top of the eddy, do a quick peel out and get back to the right immediately to avoid another hole and catch and eddy. Well, Noel peeled out a little high, got sucked in to the hole, flipped, wa thunk, brain douche, roll, piton in to a rock backwars, flip, in another hole, and swim. Myself and Jen just kept on snapping pics while Bob and Jason were ignorant to what had happened. Finally Jason came down and chased Noel’s boat with Bob close behind. I paddled across the river, threw Noel a rope and drug him over so he could walk the rail road tracks to his boat. Jen and I paddled down to find the other 2 and Noel’s gear. We went about 1 ½ miles before we found Bob, Jason, and Noel’s gear. Once we found them Noel needed to swim back to our side of the river to get his boat. So by now, Noel had swam 3 times. Once we were all back in order we continued on. The last rapid before exiting the gorge was Wall Slammer. Basically there is a hole that feeds a shear undercut wall in the middle of the rapid on the right, with a tourist look out/make fun of boaters watch area. Noel, not paying attention to anyone else (later advised that he was taking in the scenery), started the rapid on the right. Needless to say, he got wall slammed, and swam. His gear was quickly recovered. As we were collecting Noel’s gear, Bob hollered, Jen got slammed. Sure enough, here came an orange boat. Jen advised that she was showing off for the tourist’s, trying to look smooth, clipped the hole and hit the wall going about 100mph. The paddle out was rather uneventful besides Jason being attacked by a 6ft cotton mouth crossing the river. He did avoid being bit, but the snake did get the best of him. We headed to Casa Del Sol for Mexican for dinner. Back to the shack to watch Kill Bill.


Thursday July 6th:

The hikers went hiking and Mary and Myself did the tourist thing. The hikers headed for Castle Peak, near Aspen. They got to about 13,500ft before they encountered an ice storm and Jason’s eye’s froze shut. I believe that Deb was also having outfitting problems!! They headed back down the mountain, stopped in Aspen to enjoy the scenery (Girls and Silicon), and to Buffalo Bills in Buena Vista for dinner.


Friday July 7th:

Mary, Jason, Jen, and Myself left Buena Vista around 4:15am for the drive home. It was a rather uneventful drive with exception to nearly plowing into an elk in the first ½ hour of the trip. We made it back to Monroeville at 5:30am the next morning, for a total of 23 ½ hours.

Note: Lucas Reed Hubadork was born at 2:58pm on this fine day.

The rest of the crew, not leaving till Saturday, paddled the Fractions section of the Arkansas River on Friday. Not confirmed yet, but rumor has it that Bob and Deb both swam Frogs Rock Rapid and Noel seeking redemption, rescued both of their gear and boats.

Saturday July 8th:

Noel, Bob, and Deb started the trek home arriving late Sunday afternoon.