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Old 12-31-2013   #1
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,106
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Seeing the thread about Georgie White clarified something I've been struggling with since September. Time for the old guy to spit it out.

Many know that in the 70's I had the privilege of being a part of Rocky Mountain River Expeditions. The Gore range was our bread and butter run, you know, cause you could get a boat down it anytime from May to September, it was convenient, fun and didn't demand too much from anyone.

My last Gore trip was in 1979, a private affair with just my new wife on our "new" rig; a surplussed Udisco RMRE sold me at the end of the last season.

I didn't see Gore again until this year, during our 40 year RMRE reunion in Kremmling.

It's changed. A lot.

That's what I've been struggling with since September; are they good changes, or bad ones?

The road between US 40 and state bridge has a lot more pavement. Even pump house road is paved. And passable, even though it was raining. There is no longer a pump house, much less a pump, at pump house, but the inlet where the water was actually pumped out of the Colorado is still there. There are parking lots, and camp spots and boat ramps. And (flushing!) rest rooms. And signs, and bulletins (tubing not recommended says one) and a station to pay for your parking pass. You need a parking pass just to drive in the place now. Only $5, but still........ and a lot less Sage, and I'm pretty sure there used to be more trees in the area. And no camping, and if you wanted to park you did it mainly on the shoulder of the road.
The bar at State Bridge burned down sometime between 1979 and 2013. In it's place is some sort of stage affair, you know, for shows or something. The cabins are still there, but the old state bridge (too rickety for vehicles even in the 70's) is gone; only the supports remain. There is a new chain link fence to keep unwary pedestrians (pedestrians prohibited!) from wandering onto the rail tracks. The take out across the river is paved, and has boat ramps, and tethering poles, and parking spots. And bulletins and of course a booth to purchase your parking pass.

The only thing missing from Rancho are the cows, and of course Bud and Wilma, but it looks as if condos will be going in to replace the cows in the future.

Radium is no longer just a spot on the river. It has camping, and (flush) toilets, and a ramp, and bulletin boards (tubers still discouraged) and of course, a booth to pay your $5.

So; better or worse?
I can't see much negative about the physical improvements, stupid bulletins and a $5 parking pass aside, although I do find the flushing toilets to be a bit too "civilized". What the hell, is peeing in the sage just more than we can tolerate nowadays?

I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw the old Georgie White films on another thread. Those people were what one would call "civilized free spirits"; they still had their clothes on, but fashion statements were not in evidence, and neither was there much in the way of restrained behavior. You could just tell; if someone had the urge to fart or belch, they could do it without much danger of being ostracized. I mean, when you've been wearing the same shirt for 10 days, you tend to take a more relaxed view of societal interactions.

Now, the people I saw at the Pump House in September were a nice enough lot. And, there were a lot more of them than I would have expected in September.

But they weren't "civilized free spirits". I didn't see a single dirty shirt or even a nasty pair of tennis shoes. Even the fellow dealing with a frozen bearing on his trailer laid down a color coordinated ground cloth. You know, so his pants wouldn't get dirty.

They all had their $5 parking passes. And they all stopped to read the bulletins on the bulletin board. Even the part about tubers being discouraged. They'd study the notices for awhile, nod sagely, and go about their business. Quietly.

There was a lot of rigging going on that was being done just so; no twisted straps, no lopsided frames; and everything seemed to be color coordinated. Life jackets, wet suits (what the hell; wet suits?) helmets (again; what the hell?) paddles, and even baggage all blended nicely in a sometimes loud but in the end pleasing riot of color. I saw no unsightly battered oars, paddles or boats, no proud veterans sporting the scars of past floats. No haphazard piles of gear dumped on the ground. It was all organized neatly in trucks, or trunks, or on trailers. Things were........... organized. No boats being inflated that weren't perfectly perpendicular to the river, and out of the road.

No loud talking or rousting behavior; people were there to get their boats in the water and do it with a statement. Dogs were well behaved (come to think of it I didn't even see one marking; were they using the toilets also?)

No beer drinking. I did see one bunch with protein drinks and sesame energy bars. In 1975 someone who pulled out a sesame energy bar and a protein drink would have had some explaining to do, even if they had paid their f'in money.

So now I know what the difference is. In 1979 we were having fun, doing this rafting thing. And we weren't afraid to express it, even if our behavior would have been frowned upon in polite company.

In September, 2013, at the pump house it was pretty clear people were having fun as well. But subdued, polite civilized fun. Kind of like the difference between a college bar on Friday night and an Opera. I mean, everyone is enjoying themselves, but the one group is doing a better, if less civilized, job of expressing themselves, and they aren't making a fashion statement while they're at it.

Does that make sense?

Does to me now. Thanks for listening.

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Old 01-20-2014   #2
 
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Wow. I usually see lots of beer and accompanying "free spirit" behavior at Pumphouse and Radium. I have seen a lot of changes there in the past 15 years. The level of use was increasing drastically, people were peeing, pooping, and leaving kitchen and bathroom trash everywhere which I found to have a negative impact on my experience. Because of the level of users and their ethics the BLM stepped in. I personally appreciate it. Plus river access has really become easier, with public launches at State Bridge and Twin Bridges as well as increases in ramp space at Pumphouse. I wonder how long it will be until you need permit for Upper C overnights? As use increases I see this as inevitable. People are already camped everywhere on busy weekends.
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Old 01-20-2014   #3
 
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Bozeman, Montana
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Sometimes you just gotta let go and peel out of the eddy brother. change is bound to happen. They may not be the same free spirited people you remember with a junk show at the put in but there are those still around. Gore is sick regardless of the putins take outs and roads, that's shit isn't why we all like gore.. It's the river bud and the shared love for it. As far as I'm aware you don't need to wear a tshirt for ten days and shit in a field of sage brush to be a free spirit.. Times change, people change, shit changes period. Best thing to do is peel out my friend and join the flow !

Ps Colorado might have something to do with it. But we don't hold that against anybody....
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Old 01-20-2014   #4
 
Land of Lovin, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schutzie View Post
Even pump house road is paved. And passable, even though it was raining.

There are parking lots, and camp spots and boat ramps. And (flushing!) rest rooms.


Radium is no longer just a spot on the river. It has camping, and (flush) toilets, and a ramp, and bulletin boards (tubers still discouraged) and of course, a booth to pay your $5.

So; better or worse?
I can't see much negative about the physical improvements, stupid bulletins and a $5 parking pass aside, although I do find the flushing toilets to be a bit too "civilized". What the hell, is peeing in the sage just more than we can tolerate nowadays?



Now, the people I saw at the Pump House in September were a nice enough lot. And, there were a lot more of them than I would have expected in September.



No loud talking or rousting behavior; people were there to get their boats in the water and do it with a statement. Dogs were well behaved (come to think of it I didn't even see one marking; were they using the toilets also?)


I was at Pumphouse on Sept 7th this year SUPing down to Radium, I think you went too late for the shit-show crowds because normally it's a festival of dogs, people and cars.

What I want to know is where the heck you found the flushing toilets, they are pit toilets and without them the entire area would be a giant pile of feces :P

Usually in the summer months we see a lot of ragged river rats, in cats with sharks painted on the tubes overloaded with beer and hippies and ill-behaved dogs trying to get into the over-crowded hot springs.

It's still there Shutzie, you just came a month late
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Old 01-27-2014   #5
Old Guy in a PFD
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,106
Philosophical Schutzie accepts the changes; it has been 35 years since I got wet, and probably I shouldn't even offer an opinion. I mean, for the river community I'm just an old fart who used to.........you know, do it.

Rambunctious Schutzie rebels. The hell do you need a toilet for anyway? Shit in Kremmling before you get to the pump house! Pay to park?? The HELL I will!! Where's my shotgun! And get the hell off my river, I was here first!

I see where a new ramp is planned above pump house. While I can shed a tear for the Colorado that was, I'll cheer for better, easier access for all the people who want to experience "my" Gore canyon.
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Old 01-28-2014   #6
 
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Bozeman, Montana
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You are probably not to stoked on the whitewater park proposal huh...
Schutzie boy good thing it's legal in colorado now you got no excuse as you light it up exiting the eddy
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