Buffalo Creek Mountain Biking

I’ve stayed away from mountain biking because it’s just one-more-thing-to-spend-all-my-money-on (Kayaking, skydiving, surfing, scuba diving, curling – all things that fall into this category). But with a recent climbing injury to my shoulder I thought I was try some cross training, thought it turns out mountain biking isn’t very good for resting an injured shoulder, but it’s addicting!

Before this weekend I had ridden real mountain bike trails maybe four times in my life. I knew I would enjoy it, but the consequences of falling also kept me wary. I took what I thought was a small fall while riding down Lookout Mountain a few years ago, but when I reached the bottom a huge chunk of my helmet was gone. It really put into perspective how close we really take it.

My roommate just restored a Gary Fisher hardtail that he bought at a thrift store for $20. Turns out it’s a pretty awesome bike!  I rode some Boulder Open Space trails Friday and was hooked immediately. Saturday I went with my friend Lee France to Buffalo Creek in the South Platte area in Central Colorado.

The trails there are a nice contrast to the super rocky trails in the open space. The hardtail bruised my bottom – kind of accentuated the “need” for a full suspension. The Buffalo Creek trails are a bit more flowy, smoother and less rough, but still a lot of fun to rip down.

Side note: My Sony A6000 has been held hostage by the warranty repair company for almost 4 months now. I put my Rokinon 12mm Lens on Lee’s A6000’s. It was so nice having such a great camera for shooting action sports in such a small package. Secured on my backpack with my Peak Design Capture! 

Fly Fishing on the South Platte

I met up with Dave Blauvelt before sunrise in the Home Depot parking lot. He piled his bags into my little red Mazda and we took off down 285 South towards Bailey. The sun still hadn’t peaked over the mountains as we pulled into the parking lot near the South Platte River, south of the little mountain town of Pine, Colorado. Dave’s net and boots bounced around on the outside of his small backpack with each step on the trail. The river, blue in the morning light, snakes through the valley it carved long ago. The air was crisp, our fingers cold, ice forming on our waders as soon as they enter the water.

Dave sat on the rocks and prepared his rod and rig. I splashed around in the shallow, slow moving water protected by the rocks. Being able to freely move in water without getting wet is a fantastic feeling!

I don’t know how Dave continued to move his fingers. I had full gloves on and my hands were cold.

It took well over an hour for the sun to hit the spot we had chosen. It was very cold. So we chased the light. 

Tim Schoenborn, a local guide with 5280 Angler, caught a beautiful fish and Dave netted it for him.

“ooooh, she’s a beauty! She’s a beauty fish, fishin’ beauty fish!” – Brian Regan

The constant search, seeing movement under the mirrored water, the repetition, the back and forth. It’s calming. I can understand why people would search for the beauty in the location and enjoy the process more than the fish.

Tim Schoenborn skillfully pulling fish from the South Platte 

Dave nets another one 

Dave holds his prize


It was a cold but fantastic morning. I still have no desire to fly fish, but I understand why people love it. It’s so methodical and really a beautiful thing to watch. I’m happy to by a half-submerged observer. I definitely will be doing more fly fishing photography. And I got back to boulder early enough to take advantage of the incredibly beautiful day and went for a nice free solo in Eldorado Canyon.

I’ve been really busy the last two weeks, in a good. Way. I’ve got some exciting news that I’ll spill later. 

Rafting the North Fork of the South Platte River

James’s awesome Samoyed, Wesley, playing in the field before getting kicked out because “dogs are not allowed” 
“Want to get action shots of kayaking and rafting at the Bailey Whitewater Festival?

I tend to jump at this kind of invitation, this time coming from my former roommate, James Sims. Based out of Aspen, James has been strategically rafting every major rapid in Colorado this summer in his small HYSIDE raft. He’d recently told me about taking the raft down the North Fork of the South Platte river, doing some first descents in a raft.

The only other place I’ve shot whitewater sports before is the Vail Mountain Games, where kayakers and rafters do the same section of river repeatedly and I can shoot comfortably from the sidelines. When I pull up next to James’s 4Runner and the campsite in the field of tall grass, he throws me a life vest and dry pants. I think, “well I’m unprepared for this.” I didn’t bring anything of use except my camera, and well, nothing to keep my camera protected.  James gets me two dry bags to double bag my camera in and we go to meet his cousin Jake who will be in the raft with us and a couple kayakers that are going to be floating with us.

We put into the South Platte just outside of the small village of Bailey. The river is pretty calm, but we practice some maneuvering skills till we reach the campsite where we pick up several more kayakers. I’ve rafted a quite a few rivers around the world, but the last being in 2008. I’m comfortable in a raft, but I was a bit rusty.

We reach First Falls and we all get out to take a look at the falls. James and Jake plan on getting the first descent of it in a raft. The river narrows to one point and drops a good 6 to 8 feet. The landing zone is particularly scary because of blades of rock that extend towards you as you come over the falls.

James and Jake drop First Falls with relative ease, but everyone was nervous.

Peter flying off of Falls Three in Four Falls

James & Jake after Third Falls

Jake takes Peter’s Kayak and Peter runs Four Falls with James

I rejoin James and Jake in the raft after Four Falls and head down the river. We hit a few rapids, and come close to falling in the drink a few times and reach SuperMax, an impressive rapid with some technical maneuvers. I watch several kayakers go for swims. One kayaker traveled almost the entire rapid under the water, only coming up enough to catch a breath of air. Every attempt at rolling over failed. Another kayaker went bottoms up and only corrected the last moment before hitting the rocky cliff leading into the final falls. He slid the kayak onto the rock then down the cliff, missing the falls all together.

Our jolly bunch

James and Jake dropping the last falls on SuperMax 

An advantage of having a small raft is it’s easy to pull it out and run the rapid again. The little raft ran SuperMax (or Tampax if you skip the first bit) four times

It’s nice handing the camera off to someone and getting into the action myself. 

Professional Stackers

It was a fantastic and unexpected day. I’m definitely psyched to get out and play some more, hopefully I would come slightly more prepared next time.