Saturday, May 5, 2012

Durango Revisited

Ah, Durango. We loved this town last year, and were happy to call it home for two weeks this time around.

We drove up from Gallup, and we had a pretty rough couple of days to start us off. Kinsey was not well when we left Gallup, and did not improve. We took her to the vet in Durango, and were prescribed some medications to help her little heart keep pumping. The medications caused incontinence, so we had a messy, miserable day, and she died in the night. At least she didn't suffer for long.

Rather than sit in the Whale and mourn, we tried to keep busy, and enjoy this wonderful town and the surrounding countryside. We hiked up Animas Mountain, affording us views of the valley and of Durango:

Along the trailside this little lizard posed for a photo:

We strolled downtown, stopping for lunch and pastries at Jean-Pierre, walking Toby along the Animas River which flows right through town, and which is popular with all manner of watercraft enjoying its rapids:

We went for a mountain bike ride on the Rim Trail, which clings precariously to the edge of the mesa on the east side of town:

And we went for a white-water rafting trip on the Upper Piedra River with Mild to Wild. This was an all-day adventure, starting with a 45 minute drive to a rendezvous point, then 1 1/2 hours in a bus with the guides and other customers to the put-in point. We floated for about four hours, with a stop for lunch along the way, and we splashed, lurched & bounced down fast-flowing snow-melt water, through rapids from class I to class IV. It was nearly constant action, and great fun!

Because of the very cold water we were each dressed in a heavy neoprene wetsuit, jacket & booties, with a splash jacket over that, and a helmet. Our trip ended in a surprising manner: the guide spun the boat to back into the take-out area. He mis-judged his position and struck a rock, sending us all flying. I found myself on the other side of the boat with my arm underneath the young woman who'd been paddling beside me. I wiggled my arm to get free before realizing that my arm was trapped in her most private and sensitive of areas! I can only assume that it was with great reluctance that she raised to release me. Talk about a wet suit!

Anyway, speaking of riding...I also got out for a good mountain bike ride up into Horse Gulch, on the Telegraph trail, which took me from town, on the valley floor at 6600' to a high saddle at 7500'. I then plummeted back down, did a loop on Stacy's and Mike's trails, and went home tired and happy.

We headed back into town on Sunday afternoon for the Irish music jam, or ceiligh, at the Irish Embassy:

Monday I had to fly to Indiana for the week. There I put together the first batch of circuit boards and metalwork of the new Mark Levinson No52 preamplifier that I've been working on with the team at Harman Luxury Group. I flew out of Durango's LaPlata Airport, which is so nice, small and friendly.

While I was gone Nancy took Toby for walks, rode her bike on the Animas River trail, and dodged the thunderstorms that pestered the area while I was away.

When I returned I settled down to relax with a cup of tea and the latest Durango Telegraph newspaper. I opened it up and there I saw a picture of a guy I haven't seen in 30 years: George Schmidt. We saw George's father Jim in the fall on our way home for winter, and heard that George was spending a lot of time in Durango. This confirmed it, and I promptly Googled George, found his phone number, and gave him a call.

We made a plan to go mountain biking the next day. After Nancy and I checked out the Durango Farmer's market, I rode over to meet George and his lovely girlfriend Amber at the house that they are renovating. From there we hopped in George's Ford euro-style van, affectionately dubbed the Pugfish, and drove over to the west side of the mountains to the town of Dolores, and to the Boggy Draw trailhead. We enjoyed a great ride, uncommonly smooth and fast for Colorado mountains. It was a good workout, too, being that we were riding between 7600 and 7900' elevation.

We got back late, retired to our quarters to clean up, then all four of us met for a tasty New-Mexican meal at Gazpacho.

Our last Day in Durango was Mother's Day, so I went out early to poach some blooms from a lilac tree, then prepared biscuits and gravy for Nancy's special breakfast. We worked that sinful goodness off by biking top-to-bottom-to-top of the Animas River Trail. It was a cool day, but got sunnier and warmer as we pedalled south, but when we turned around to head back we were buffeted by strong headwinds, which got stronger and colder as we labored along. By then end of the ride I was very chilled, and happy to get back to the Whale for a cup of hot tea.

We finished off our Durango-time with a soak in the Trimble Hot Springs with George and Amber. It was great to relax, unwind, and get all warm in the hot mineral waters. And it was great to have one more visit with George and Amber before moving on. We certainly hope to see these two great people again someday.

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