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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    The Ranch

    2008 Memorial Day Weekend Sawatch Ski & Music Festival

    Did you know that the City Market in Buena Vista runs a chicken dinner special on Friday nights? It's something like 8 pieces for 3 dollars, with 5 sides and complimentary napkins. Needless to say that was the first stop on our annual Memorial Day Weekend trip. Riding eight strong in three vehicles we proceeded to consume roughly our own body weight equivalent in chicken before heading up to the Baldwin Creek drainage on Friday night. It wasn't a pretty sight.

    The players are as follows, left to right in the photos.

    Marcel - base camp manager
    climb2ski - skiing leader, percussion
    Cousin Jay - professional boxer

    Crazy Steve - snowboarding expert, backup photographer
    Gabe - lead vocals, coffee brewer

    Cab - climbing leader, background vocals
    Adan - lead photographer, meat temperature checker

    Irls - lead guitarist of Steeze Bees with Crazy Steve

    Before long we were on our way, heading up Chaffee County Road 162. Around 6pm the icy mitts of grauple shook our hands with a welcoming, as if to say "Welcome to Base Camp." One mile up the Baldwin Creek road we encountered a lone vehicle stuck in the snow.

    Marcel approached the driver, "Wadda you got, a trailer stuck in the snow, nuthin." With the pop reference moot, somehow we managed to extract the trailer and car from the snow with all our limbs intact. However, this left us with no camp site with darkness rapidly enveloping the sky. Mike and Marcel headed down valley and secured a spot at the Cascade Creek Campground.

    We packed up the bags to get ready for the next day's adventure, which would be a hike up the Denny Creek route on Mount Yale with a ski descent of Avalanche Gulch. Joining the fray on this trip would be Marcel, climb2ski, Irlts, Cab, and Cousin Jay. This would be Cousin Jay's first attempt to snowboard a fourteener, a decision he would soon come to regret.

    Here in the late evening hours Marcel is packing his bags, strap this to that, and lash that to this. Packing his bag would soon be a decision he would come to regret.

    Without the lead or backup photographer, there is no photographic evidence that an ascent of Yale took place, nor that a peak called Mount Yale even exists. The memories exist in the minds of those who were there, minds that would become increasingly blurred. An hour into the hike Marcel complained of tiredness and a general I-dont-want-to-bother-with-thisness'. As a team, we knew we could go on without him but could he find his way back to the trailhead on his own? None of us could be sure, but it was a risk we were willing to take for the sake of getting some sweet turns.

    We made it to the summit around noon, it had been snowing on and off all day, so the snow remained pretty firm. climb2ski and I skied the Silver Creek Bowl down to the saddle where we the Avalanche Gulch route started and Cousin Jay and Cab hiked the ridge down to the saddle.

    From about 200 feet above where we intersected the ridge Cab dropped in first, the snow was firm, but held an edge. Cousin Jay dropped in next and quickly sped out of control and started sliding towards a cliff, where he was fortunate enough to stop right before taking an ill advised 30 foot huck to hardpack.

    We traversed over to him, climb2ski took over the duty of assisting him with the descent while Cab and I scouted the route. Unfortunately about 100 feet below us the route turned to all rocks, not too bad, easy enough to just click out of your skis and walk down, not so easy for Cousin Jay. Climb2ski was able to scout a route to the start of another couloir, and guided Cousin Jay over there, while Cab and I down climbed the gnar.

    Successfully regrouped we made it through the lower sections where the snow was much softer. Cousin Jay did much better through this sections. A few hours later we were back at the trailhead, recounting the stories of the day to a well rested Marcel.

    We arrived back in camp at 6pm.
    "What'd you guys do all day?" I inquired.
    "You're looking at it," Crazy Steve replied
    "Did you go for hike?" Cab asked
    "I made it to the bathroom," said Adan.
    "Bacon and eggs", Gabe quipped

    Hmmm, maybe there's something to this side of it. What ever it is I don't want to find out? Go, go, go, get ready, we leave for Princeton at 3am tomorrow morning. It would be Crazy Steve, climb2ski, and me.

    Early morning light over Buena Vista

    Once you leave the road, you ascend a 500 foot slope to the start of the traverse across the east slopes of Princeton. The route looked promising, running from the summit lookers right, into the long gully.

    Another view

    The hike was a joy; our campground is down along that road at the bottom of this pic.

    The ubiquitous summit shot

    Irlts traversing below the northeast ridge

    Irlts dropping into the big gully

    climb2ski working it in the big gully

    My legs are tired

    Crazy Steve snowboards

    The skiing down the big gully was outstanding, so good in fact we skied down about 1000 feet too far. Once we reached regained the ridge we put the skis on and started the cruise back to the car. All of a sudden nothing seemed familiar; soon we realized that we had skied several hundred feet below the road down into the wrong gully. Cursing our situation we had to climb back up this frozen slope to the intersection of the road. We had planned on Princeton being an easy day, but it ended up taking a toll on us. At the car, sipping on a malted beverage, climb2ski declared "No Antero tomorrow for me." It took me about 15 minutes to come around and at that time a great weight was lifted off my chest. Finally I'd get to see what it was like to do nothing while camping.

    Back to the camp, we started the music portion of the weekend. Steeze Bees opened with a cover of Yellow Ledbetter, then a Johnny Cash medley. After those covers we proceeded to play some of our fan favorites like "Steeze Bees" and "Hornet's Nest". Also, we were able to write two new songs that night "Trampoline" and "Basketball Hoop", both songs of which represent a new direction for Steeze Bees, away from melittology to the more controversial topic of exercise equipment.

    Gabe on the diggereedoo

    climb2ski on the hot dog bun percussion

    Soon the food took center stage.
    "Is this sausage done?"
    "Just turn your headlamp off, and you'll be fine," replied meat master Adan.

    Brie Burgers

    Mmmmmmm, those are good.

    It was a fantastic night; we ate ribs, chicken, sausages, brats, steaks, and burgers. Are those all the meat products in existence? I sure thought so, but Crazy Steve would soon prove me wrong. The night faded into greater darkness, the crunchy shells of peanuts enveloped me in a soft blanket and sleep descended upon me like a softly falling petal from an apple blosom on a dewy spring morning.

    The camping philosophy "Clean It Up Eventually".

    "What's that on the grill Crazy Steve?"
    "I hunted some squirrel last night after everyone went to bed"
    "Squirrel, another meat?

    After breakfast we played some football, packed up, and headed home. Memorial Day Weekend is always such a special weekend and many toasts were made throughout the weekend to those who paid the ultimate price in defending this incredible freedom that we enjoy. All in all it had it all and we owe it all to you, till next year.
    Last edited by Ireallyliketoski; 06-05-2008 at 04:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Eagle County
    squirrel is actually quite tasty....I grew up in Bama, what can I say. The fact that he "hunted" is hilarious. Nice TR.

  3. #3
    cab's Avatar
    cab is offline Skied with Seth M..once.
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    i thought we skied yay-el?
    Are you bringing your ice axe?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Love the teener stoke...
    We hold daggers in the side of the Moon...

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