July 4th Holiday Weekend

Lake Granby looking towards the Indian Peaks Range

Saturday’s kayaking adventure was our first paddle on Lake Granby. What a beautiful day to be outdoors, a bit deceptive but nonetheless a beautiful day. We started our paddle, launching from the Rainbow Bay Picnic Site located just of off County Road 6 which leads to the Monarch Lake trailhead. Our goal was to paddle to the Arapaho Bay Campground.

We paddled into Rainbow Bay, making our way towards Sunset Point and Arapaho Bay. Navigating our way around the point, Granby Dam comes into view. This dam holds back the natural flow of the Colorado River. The dam itself was created in 1950 and technically pumps water into Shadow Mountain Lake to the North. Passing near the dam, we had felt the undercurrent pulling us gently in the direction of the spillway to the west. However, the surface winds pushed us to the North; a strange sensation to say the least. One can only imagine what this may have looked like prior to the dams and diversions.

After maneuvering about a few of the islands dotted along our route, we chose to beach “The Big Mango”. At this point, using our best judgement, we determined that we were about two miles from the entrance to the Arapaho Bay, as we had paddled 7 plus miles. It is very difficult to judge distance on open water due to the lack depth perception needed to gauge distance from point to point. We determined that at our current pace, it would be about another hour to make it to the campground. With Aspen back at Base Camp, we decided to head back to Rainbow Bay.

It was a beautiful day, but also a bit deceptive. The winds on Lake Granby are constantly changing throughout the day, or literally by the minute. Contributing factors are likely the mountains to the North and East and the valleys to the West. Our paddle back was into a stiff headwind that was there one moment and gone the next. It continued until we reached Sunset Point where we finally a respite from the winds. After paddling for 13.24 miles and just over 4.5 hours we were safely back on ground with another awesome day on the water.

Returning to Base Camp, I was nearly about to doze off and catch some zzz’s before I was interrupted by a familiar sound of willow branches breaking beneath the feet of a large four legged animal. IMG_1028With curiosity getting the best of me, I spotted a female moose within ten feet of the back of our trailer. Moving inside to grab my camera and alerting Stella to our guest, I snuck back outside to take a few pictures.

Sunday was a day of rest, except for Aspen, who needed her daily swimming session.

On Monday, we headed into Fraser to bike the Fraser River Trail. Parking at the trailhead near Safeway and donning our helmets we were off. The trail is segmented into three distinct sections. Toward Winter Park, the trail is a mix of single track and two track weaving along the Fraser River, moving in and out of several fishing ponds before turning to pavement. The trail continues through the heart of Winter Park on a shared sidewalk before heading south into the Arapaho National Forest and back down to the river. IMG_4347The trail interlaces through a series of campsites before heading under U.S. Hwy 34 and Winter Park Village, the southern terminus of the trail. This is an out and back ride just shy of 12 miles with an elevation gain of 481 feet. The out portion of the ride is all up hill meaning that the return trip is all down hill and an easy peddle back to our awaiting Tahoe.

July 4th, happy Independence Day America! Aspen began the day by celebrating her independence with another swimming session. Afterward, we launched “The Big Mango” on Shadow Mountain Lake where we immediately kayaked into the channel to make our way onto Grand Lake. Paddling our way around the lake, we eventually found ourselves on the western shore, basking in the sun, drifting aimlessly, whilst daydreaming of owning a piece of shoreline property.

What a fantastic four days. In total, we paddled and peddled 30.2 miles, swam Aspen a ton, came within feet of a female moose and once again escaped the craziness of the city.

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