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Meeting Kid Rock

Meeting Kid Rock

Tom, I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your story about floating the Upper C last month (see “A river story” at vailtrail.com, July 7 edition).

The day after you put in, I also ran into “Kid Rock” and had a somewhat similar experience with him, though was able to sort things out without him having to make any threats or gestures. My wife and I live down the road from the Pinbal put in, where among other things I run a float fishing business. I use that put in all the time to take friends for a quick float or for after work. It’s only an hour float back to my place, and then I can ride my bike back up to the truck to get my trailer afterwards. People do camp there all the time, perhaps there should be some signage indicating that its used for a boat ramp. That may have kept Kid Rock’s family pack out of the way, but of course that would assume that he knows how to read. (I spent the rest of the day referring to him as Fred Flintstone, but Kid Rock is a much better description).

Anyway the morning I showed up, I had my boss with me and convinced the Kid to let me use the ramp, but only by offering him some beers. He mentioned the people who had “hassled” him the day before, by which I assume now he meant you. His wife did mention that he had recently been a guest of the state in Canon City. In the end we ended up putting in just a little above that ramp, at a county-owned property which is currently unoccupied. I think we saw your group at Jack Flats, which is a really nice place to camp.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the rest of that lower section of the Upper Colorado, but if you float it again you might want to check out the stretch below Catamount. There is a really excellent spot to camp river right, just below a RR bridge and powerlines. There’s a decent spot to eddy out and a couple of small waterfalls just above. Also there’s no road in there, just the railroad so it feels pretty secluded except for when a train passes. You can take out in Burns if you don’t want to deal with Rodeo Rapid, (which is a really shitty rapid).

I read the part of your story to my wife talking about how you’ve always imagined living in our area to be a very happy existence, and I can say that it is so. This is the third house I’ve owned in my life and it will most probably be the last. It really is a world away from I-70, though easily commutable to it. (I drive to Eagle-Vail most mornings for my real job). I first found the area by accident when I moved to Colorado back in 1986. I had stumbled onto the State Bridge Lodge from the Kremmling direction, having come through the Eisenhower Tunnel on a Friday evening. I drove up Highway 9 trying to take some sunset photos and headed north, not realizing how far the Gore Range extended since I didn’t have a map. I took the Trough Road simply trying to go west, and was astounded the first time I came around the corner and saw the mouth of Gore Canyon. That night I drove further on and found a lot of cars parked around the State Bridge Lodge, but not a single soul downstairs. I heard something upstairs and when I went up, was treated to an evening of Cowboy Poetry. The highlights were one guy who recited The Man From Snowy River by heart, and another guy who sang with his cattle dog howling accompaniment.

The next day I followed the River Road just to see where it went, and immediately took to the area. Over the next 17 years I’ve spent much time exploring the West, but for the last few my wife and I spent more and more time just camping around State Bridge, or further down. Now we own our proverbial slice of paradise there and it still looks pretty much the same way it did the first time I laid eyes on it (how we lucked into our place is a pretty long and interesting story unto itself!) There’s not too many places in Colorado you can say that about, especially with such close paved access to civilization.

I enjoy reading your column most weeks and generally agree with your general outlook on all things Eagle Valley. I also particularly enjoy Ken Neubecker’s columns, and know him through Trout Unlimited. Also Barry Smith and Nicky Hernandez’ columns are good too.

If you want to check out some photos of Colorado River country I’ve got some shots on my website at confluencecasting.com.

Jack Bombardier

Colorado River country


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