After arriving from Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Washington, Ohio, Illinois, Philadelphia, Michigan, and South Korea at Denver International Airport, the group set forth to Cherry Creek State Park located in Aurora, CO. Here we spent the afternoon discussing the itinerary for the trip, setting up a campsite, and sizing everyone on their mountain bikes. Getting the chance to cruise around on bikes was a highlight for all. Elijah and Ethan then prepared a delicious Italian dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with a Caesar salad. Yumyum! Just as the sun set over the mountains leaving behind a beautiful orange glow, it was time for bed so that we could be well rested for white water rafting in the morning. Pillow talks were abundant before lights were out and everyone was sleeping.
Monday morning we packed up camp, had breakfast, and headed on the road for Salida, CO. Salida is home to many of Colorado’s 14,000 foot tall mountain peaks including Mount Princeton and Mount Yale. A perfect atmosphere to get the group excited for rafting. We ate lunch before launching onto the water with a great view of the scenery. Ben and Issac could not keep their eyes away from the towering peaks surrounding us.
Our guides at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center took the group safely through Brown’s Canyon rafting on Class III and IV rapids. Tate and Issac bonded over the experience by leading the group down the river. They were in charge of setting the pace of the paddle stroke and make sure everyone paddled together. The guides at the end of our trip commented that we were semi-professional rafters. Needless to say the boys paddled down the river as smooth as possible! After spending three hours on the water, we put in at our campsite for the evening, Hecla Junction. Hecla has a spectacular view of the canyon and a nice pleasant sound of trickling water. Jeff and Sarah were impressed by how quickly tents were set up and more importantly how nicely everyone was bonding. By then, the group was ready for Tacos, as cooked by Sam and Michael. The evening was spent playing games to get to know everyone better, such as 60 second biographies and another game involving M&Ms. It was then time for a game of Mafia, which you can ask the boys how to play when they get home. Onwards to Telluride!
Tuesday was a day of eating scrambled pancakes (prepared by Adam and Jong Ho), sight seeing, listening to music in the car ride, and our first group grocery shop. We stopped in Montrose, CO at a local Safeway to buy our meals for the next three days. Michael and Sam, as special operatives, helped keep the group organized during our shopping mission. We learned about shopping efficiently, finding the best deals, and most importantly picking out a delicious desert. After shopping was done, we picked up a soccer ball for the group to enjoy during free time at camp.
Finally we arrived at Telluride on Tuesday evening at Matterhorn campsite. Our campsite is nestled next to a stream and a few mountain bike trials. Tonight’s dinner was tomato soup, grilled cheese/tuna melts, and potatoes. A great meal for a cool night! After a group of bike jeopardy and discussing biking tips and procedures, we had another early night to be well rested for our first day of riding! Jong Ho continues to be helpful and supportive of the groups needs, which is much appreciated.
Wednesday we woke up to a drizzling rain. Thankfully our tarp shelter set up by Jeff and Sarah kept the group dry. By the time we got to the top of Lizzard Pass to meet our mountain biking guide, Mark, the rain disappeared and the sun was out. Perfect weather for riding. Adam, as leader of the day, helped keep the group organized, safe, and carried a walkie-talkie and bike pump in case of any flat tires. Good job Adam! The group started off strong with Ethan proving himself as an excellent rider by tackling a tricky technical section with grace and a positive attitude. Tate and Ben also confidently handled any obstacle that we came upon. After riding 22 miles, we came back to our campsite, said goodbye to Mark for the evening, and starting cooking dinner. Ben and Kyle utilized their creative talents and prepared Slomgolian Goulash. A favorite dinner by all this far! At evening circle Elijah continued to amuse the group with his witty humor.
Today we woke up to a beautiful summer morning in Telluride as the group prepared omelets for breakfast. Our adventure then continued by taking the gondola up the mountain where we rode down Prospect Trail. This trail gave students a run for their money as we spent the first few miles riding uphill. The uphill indeed was appreciated afterwards as we spent more time descending on flowing singletrack through aspen trees. The most beautiful part of today was seeing the La Sal mountains as the sunlight danced between the aspen trees. Jeff and Sarah are so impressed with everyone’s riding ability after just two days of mountain biking!
We are off for a afternoon hike to a waterfall. Tomorrow’s adventure takes us to a rocky atmosphere for rock climbing and then down to the desert at mountain biking mecca, Utah! Wish us luck scaling up, up, and away!