The Big Deuce had a little less stoke, and a whole lot more broke this year in Ouray. Brejcha’s ankle is still jacked up beyond all recognition. I’m fresh off brain surgery. We’re all broke financially. RAM is… well, RAM. And Mike and Randi just plain didn’t show up, giving some lame excuse like they didn’t want to drive that far. The Stoke-O-Meter was pretty low to start. But sweet canyons, hot springs, restaurants, pubs, liquor stores, and crowds of fellow canyoneers to share campfire tales with quickly got the stoke rising, and Ouray once again showed why it is probably the best alpine canyoning area in the US. Hell, even if you don’t want to do canyons, it’s sweet place to just chill.
My agenda for the trip was pretty mellow, doing Bear Creek, Weehawken, Portland Creek, and Oak Creek. In a quick and efficient group, most of the days were extremely casual, some as small as 1.5 hours, car to car. Of the four canyons I saw, Bear is certainly the best. It’s full of fantastic pools and waterfalls, including the iconic La Capella, perhaps the most photogenic of the falls I saw. Weehawken was very good as well, if not for the long middle slog between the two gorges, it would be up there with Bear. Portland creek was a quick romp with folks as they were trying to get out of town. We saved Oak for last, and it was up there with Bear, certainly in terms of iconic beauty. Though the narrows are not quite as interesting, the waterfalls and multiple rock layers are pretty impressive.