By Em Shanblatt
All good things must come to an end. The GAP Colorado Summer Tour is no exception. Mary Frances and I had our last few days of kayaking, and are wrapping up things here in the beautiful and burly state of Colorado. We spent our last days of kayaking on the Upper Eagle (@ high water 3950 cfs) and the Lower Fryingpan. Super fun, constant, and big water!
We celebrated our time together with a nice sushi dinner in Glenwood Springs, followed by a campfire with lots of reminiscing and wine!
Here are a few stats we’ve collected in order to recap our amazing Colorado Tour for y’all!
Total number of days on tour – 26
Total number of days we went kayaking – 23
Total mileage driven – 4,200
Favorite city – Em: Crested Butte Mary Frances: Buena Vista
Total number rivers we paddled – 16 (Elkhorn, Lower Animas, Piedra, Cascade Creek, Upper Animas, Salida Wave on the Arkansas, Browns Canyon, the Numbers, the Fractions, Bighorn Canyon, Upper Taylor, Oh Be Joyful, Upper Snake, Upper Colorado, Upper Eagle, Lower Fryingpan)
Total Swims – 3
Clinics we taught – 5
Total number of women who participated in our clinics – 36
Nights spent at people’s houses – 8
Nights spent in the tent -17
Favorite Campsite – Horse Pasture Campground in Gunnison National Forest (on Kebler Pass)
Worst Campsite – A Cul-De-Sac in a neighborhood in Vail
Nights we payed for lodging – 1
Number of times we showered – 7
Best shower – Em: Jessa Davis in Louisville, KY (it was like showering under a waterfall, and they had great exfoliating soap!) MF: Heather Woodward’s in Crested Butte, CO (lots of good smelling soaps, and she was REAL smelly)
Favorite Piece of Gear - Mary Frances: Kokotat Meridian Gore-Tex Drysuit Em: Zero Degree AT Eddy paddle
Favorite Meal -Pizza at the Secret Stash in Crested Butte
Least Favorite meal -Instant Oatmeal breakfast (which we had over 12 times)
Favorite River Snack – Baby Luna Bars & Snickers
Favorite Bar – Crazy Mountain Brewery (Edwards, CO)
Favorite Colorado Beer – Colorado Native Lager by AC Brewing Company (Golden, CO)
Most Beautiful Drive -Kebler Pass (Crested Butte to Marble)
Our biggest followers – Cara Stirts & Betsy Dragoo (statistically, they “like” stuff we put on facebook more than anyone else)
Most Played Album – Pink Friday by Nikki Manaj
Favorite Pump Up Songs – 1) Superbass – Nikki Manaj 2) I’m the Best – Nikki Manaj 3) All the Lights – Kanye West 4) I Follow Rivers – Lykke Li 5) My Life Be Like – Grits
Best Non-Kayaking Adventure – Tie between Mesa Verde National Park & March Fourth Marching Band concert at FIBArk
Most Commonly Used Phrases – “They’re not going anywhere” (referring to the boats) & “We need more protein”
Number of times we waved at cars with kayaks, and they gave us the Brown Claw: Way too Many
Total minutes Mary Frances and Em spent apart – Under 10
Overall, it’s been an incredible journey. Mary Frances and I are both so grateful to have had this opportunity to enjoy Colorado in such an intense and fulfilling way. We’ve paddled more whitewater than we could have ever imagined, and met countless wonderful people who participated in our clinics, took us kayaking, put us up in their houses, or were super friendly and made us feel like Colorado was our home. To everyone we’ve encountered, thank you for making this an experience to remember!
I am headed back to the Southeast now, but Mary Frances is continuing with the tour out west! She’ll be teaching in Hood River, OR on July 16-17, and in Boise, ID on July 23-24. If you’re in the area, check it out!
Keep your eyes out for our short film we’re making about the Colorado Tour as well! It’ll be up soon!