Getting trash (and trashed) on Homestake |

Getting trash (and trashed) on Homestake

Tom Boyd

Underneath the steel span bridge outside of Red Cliff is the vortex of two streams, where Homestake Creek and the headwaters of the Eagle River swirl together before flowing down the narrows of Gilman Gorge. On any given day this is a place worth visiting, but probably the best time all year to visit Homestake Creek will be at noon on Thursday, June 5, when the Teva Mountain Games hosts the Homestake Creek Creekin’ Contest. All the state’s best kayakers will be there, navigating seemingly impossible lines through chaotic whitewater, and I’m of the opinion that it will be one of the greatest shows of athletic prowess and skill our valley has ever seen.The creek is directly next to a road (turn right after crossing the steel bridge), and this has some positive and negative repercussions. The good news is that watching a Class V creekin’ race is usually very difficult, but in the case of Homestake, it will be a piece o’ cake. People can simply drive over to Red Cliff, set up camp on the side of the small, rarely-driven byway and watch paddlers throw themselves off multiple waterfalls from the comfort of a folding chair/cooler setup.The bad news about the road issue is that Homestake, which already has an eerie orange color because of mine tailings, has an inordinate amount of trash along its steep banks. Empty beer cans, old clothes, car batteries, cigarette packets and other artifacts from the modern world pollute its banks.So a group of us are getting together and asking people to come down, watch the show, and pick up a bit of garbage along the way. The Vail Trail will be there with a pickup truck to haul away all the garbage and Vail Honeywagon will have trash receptacles placed strategically around at the event.We’ll also have help from the folks at Mountain Monkey Mat, a locally owned company that many people have already learned to love at the Minturn Market. Mountain Monkey imports refreshing and energizing teas, including mat, rooibos, and a world-famous smoothie with secret organic ingredients. Mountain Monkey has been good enough to offer fresh beverages to those of you who give us a hand and you can learn more about them at, with a healthy spring runoff charging through the narrow, boulder-strewn Homestake Creek, this ought to be some incredible paddling with serious consequences. I even went to great lengths researching this story, kayaking a portion of the creek upside-down just to see exactly how nasty things can get in there (as shown above).After a few blows to the head and a patented upside-down piton maneuver I discovered that Homestake is best run right-side up. Good luck to all the competitors, paddle safely, and we’ll see ya there.Tom Boyd is interested in hearing what you think.. Feel free to call, comment, question or write at (970) 390-1585 or

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