Snuck in a couple of more trips in the past few weeks. Bridger and I got onto Joe Wright Creek and Spencer Heights up on the Poudre. Joe Wright was really low, though Carnito Canyon was fun. Spencer was a blast. We hiked Rocket Launcher (which, as it turns out, lots of the locals walk as well, which made me feel a bit better about the decision). The main canyon was a lot of fun; I wish it was 5 miles or so longer. Then things got a little interesting that night; I managed to shear off my car key in my lock cylinder. I tried to fish it out that night, and settled for drinking beer instead. In the morning I managed to pull out the key fragment with the scissors of a swiss army knife. Then I plugged that into the ignition and managed to start the car, which was a blessing since I was about 2.5 hours (one way) from my spare set of keys. When I called AAA from my house to get the key fragment extracted from the ignition, the locksmith couldn't quite figure out how I had sheared off the key so deep in the cylinder. I just shrugged.
Last weekend I finally got out to the Big South (the big south fork of the poudre). It's 13 or so miles of wilderness boating, with plenty of class V thrown in for good measure. It's a run I had been hearing about since I first got to Colorado. I missed it one or two years because I wasn't sure if I was up to it, and last year because the season ran right up against the bar exam. But this year was the year.
We had a solid medium flow, and things went fast from the Weird Creek put-in. A bit scrapey, but very very fast. Starter Fluid was a lot of fun, as was Barroom Brawl. We portaged bouncing betty out of respect (it took the life of a fellow boater last year) and fantasty flight and meltdown due to wood. We all walked the big 3 (meltdown, cool world, and double trouble). I walked Slideways as well, which tore at me a bit, but I was cold at that point (my drysuit needs to be repaired) and not feeling up to the long, complicated rapid. I was dreading it somewhat when scouting, and when I realized that I may just walk it, I started feeling a lot happier. Seemed like a sign. After watching some of the marginal lines our crew had on the rapid, I didn't regret the decision too much.
Overall, Big South was gorgeous, but I think I had my hopes for it set a little high. It's a quality run for sure, but over the years I had it built up in my mind as something that was different from anything I had ever boated.