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Old 02-23-2013   #1
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Colorado Springs Beta

Hey boaters! I'm a soggy, caffeinated Seattle area paddler considering a move to the Springs sometime early this summer. Just wanted to throw up a thread and find out where the local runs are. I'm a confident class lV boater and prefer creeking over play.
Also, at risk of guiding a whitewater post completely off topic, I'd like to find out a bit more about CS from like minded boater folk. I'd be relocating with my lady friend (sorry, FOTF) who happens to be the breadwinner right now . Because my favorite hobbies also include eating and paying rent, I'll be looking for a job (preferably in the outdoor industry). Rants welcome. Thanks guys!
-Seattle Chris

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Old 02-23-2013   #2
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
If you move to C Springs, be ready to do alot of driving to paddle alot of low water. It is possible to be a boater there, but it's a huge step down from the pacnw. In a dry year, there are literally less than 5 worthwhile runs within a days drive. If you have a fuel efficient car and an understanding ladyfriend, you can make it work, but you should probably get a mtn bike too. Also, beware of anyone in a purple lightning suit. I'll let the peanut gallery comment on the character of the town.

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Old 02-23-2013   #3
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
I just moved back to the pacific northwest after 5 years of school in Colorado Springs. If you are super dedicated, you can make it work. Bailey is only an 1.5 hours away, so you can paddle that a lot when it is in. Waterton (class III fun) is one hour and 10 min away. Royal gorge is fun enough, and scenic. Only 50 minutes away. Other than that, you are looking at upwards of 2 hours to anything of substantial quality. OH, except when it rains really really hard. Then, you have all the wonder and glory of Monument Creek right in your backyard. Don't forget your hazmat suit .

The Springs has some great weather and access to awesome climbing & mountain biking. So bring your bike and climbing gear, and get ready to enjoy those two sports year round.

As for the character of the town.... well, there is only one restaurant worth eating at, and that is Monica's Taco shop. There are definitely some fun biking and climbing communities to hook in to. Beyond that, you will meet a lot of very strange, very conservative people. You can hunt down some good restaurants other than Monica's, but you have to be dedicated. Plus, is there really any point to eating other food after you have tasted the glory of those fast food tacos?

Edit: Photo cred goes to Will Stauffer-Norris. This photo captures the essence of Monica's, and is a true work of artistic genius.
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Old 02-23-2013   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
Hey Chris,
Did I paddle the Rogue with you last November? Where to start.... Condo Springs. It's a great town if you like towns that are so conservative that they would rather shut down all of the street lights in leu of ever raising taxes. That should show you their priorities. Focus on the family is centered there, so have fun . Skiing can be found at Monarch, which is probably a couple hours away. The good thing is that they don't enjoy the world famous traffic jams of the Denver ski commuters. The bad news is that you don't have as many nearby choices to ski. Everything has a short season, but some outstanding creek boating can be found about 2 hours away in the Arkansas River valley for a decent amount of time during the summer. Aside from that, you'll have to hope that it gets dry in Denver, so the water gods will divert water from the western slope to the North Fork South Platte (IV-V creeking) probably 1.5 hours away. Hope this helps. It's a very beautiful area with Pike's Peak, Royal Gorge (III mostly) and Garden of the Gods, but not a great paddler's destination. Enjoy the sunshine and chinook winds. It can easily be 60 degrees in January or you could have 2 feet of snow on the ground.
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Old 02-23-2013   #5
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
David pretty much nailed it, except I don't know anything about Monica's Taco shop. If you really care about kayaking, then point out to your girlfriend that Seattle is a huge city with a shit load of jobs available. Alternatively, have someone point to you that Seattle is a huge city with a shit load of single girls available. Washington State is the mecca of kayaking in the United States. Colorado Springs is one of the worst spots for boating in a dry state.
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Old 02-23-2013   #6
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 438
None of these chodes know what they are taking about. Ya, Springs isn't the best paddling town in CO, but it is pretty good. 1:20 to Bailey, 1:20 to Clear Creek (Denver), 1:45 to Buena Vista (Numbers, CC Ark), 0:50 to Royal Gorge. A days drive JMack? I can get to OBJ in 3:30 and Gore in 3:00. The worst part about this place from a boating perspective is the lack of an after-work run. Keep in mind Chris is moving from Seattle where, with traffic, it could take 2 hours just to get to a pool session.

The mountain and road biking is great and you can do it year round. Ski area access is decent too, 2 hrs to Monarch, 2 hrs to Breck. And from the springs that usually means two hours, not 6 hours sitting in the I-70 parking lot.

Monica's is great, but there are a ton of other good restaurants to choose from if you are willing to pay more than $3.69 for a meal.

This place is home to FOTF and several mega-churches, not necessarily a bad thing, but the population tends to be conservative. Check out downtown, Old Colorado City, or Manitou Springs if you want to feel more liberal.
Drew J.
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Old 02-23-2013   #7
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
Drew- The Monica's thing is a joke.........mostly.

Yeah, the traffic in Seattle sucks.... but, as long as I'm not in rush hour traffic (not usually on the way to the river), I can get to 9 class IV-V runs in under an hour... now, you can't beat that anywhere in Colorado... much less the Springs.

All of that aside, you can still have a ton of fun in the springs. Despite its rep, there are a lot of great communities and sports to be a part of. It's just really not a boating destination compared to the NW. Still some goods to be had though!

And don't forget the closest skiing, backcountry on the backside of Pikes!
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Old 02-23-2013   #8
Fort Collins
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 129
Hey, you can't leave out the town run, which can get crankin in some of the afternoon thunderstorms:

The town does have some great mountain biking/hiking/climbing, plus Pikes Peak is in your back yard. CS also provides good access to some of the other soithern parts of the state, Arkansas Valley and Gunnison are not too far away.
"If I'm not there, it means I'm dead...or late!" General W.R. Monger
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Old 02-24-2013   #9
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 280
I have lived in Seattle. I have lived in CS.
The only boats I boarded while in Seattle, where sailboats. I learned to kayak while I lived in CS, for that I am thankful.
I left Seattle. It was wet and the sailing was not that good. (Seriously.) And like you, there was a somebody with a better job involved.
I left Colorado Springs. It pretty much suffocated me. I am a left coaster of heart, mind, and soul. I still live in Colorado. I still kayak. I do not sail anymore.
There are some people quite happy with life in CS. Probably best to visit before you move.
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Old 02-24-2013   #10
Merica!, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 28
Are you in the military? Have you ever wanted to live in the Great Plains? Do you like super hot weather and weird conservative people? If so cs is the town for you!!!! I believe it won an award for being the most out of place town in our fair state! If you are a paddler avoid this town like the plague. Now canon city on the other hand... Is a diamond in the rough. As long as you can stay out of the federal pen! Haha there is, about a million other places I would move in this state before I would bother to drive through cs!

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