When Adam and I pulled in to Orion’s driveway late that night of the 21st, we snuggled our Subaru in between, not one, not two, but three other Subarus (Subari?), confirming our arrival in a place where we were probably going to fit in. Walking up to the porch, we were greeted with big hugs by three young men and one white husky dog, confirming the friendly nature of those who gravitate to a place like Nederland, CO. And upon waking in the morning, we first joined our host and his visiting friends for their daily a.m yoga practice and then combined pantries to prepare a hearty breakfast, confirming we were in like-minded (hungry, stretchy, communing) company. We were off to a good start in Four Mile Canyon.
Not long after sharing our meal on the porch, the six of us (four boys, one girl and one shedding white husky dog) made off into the mountains for a hike.
Just as we had suspected, Adam and I felt right at home, and almost painfully happy to be in the Rockies amongst similarly enthusiastic outdoorspeople. Though all of the boys were raised in the Northeast, various forces brought them to the area, one being the incredible opportunities for recreation in the mountains. Between climbing, hiking, swimming and general outdoorsiness in the summer and skiing and mountaineering in the winter, this is an area that begs for your time and energy. Though limited to a few days, we did what we could to join in the fun.
On the hike, we climbed several miles to a placid mountain lake, where the boys set up a slack line. An idea first conceived by climbers, the slack line (approximately similar to a bouncy tightrope) is a simple construction of climbing webbing and carabineers but demands balance, concentration and determination (just as climbing, skiing, yoga, etc. all do) from anyone who wishes to walk upon it. It is a remarkably effective training device, a great way to make friends in a grassy park and often wildly addictive.
After lunching and slack lining, Orion settled down for a nap while the rest of us plunged into the lake for a refreshing, if not freezing, swim to the other side.
Feeling invigorated, we then began a rapid descent down the mountain, returning home to cook and eat together before heading into town to see Full Tang. A fly on the wall might never have guessed that we had met less than 24 hours earlier.
We had driven Orion’s Subaru up the mountain, so decided to take Ben’s to Nederland. I mention this because the number of Subarus in the area never ceased to entertain us. Frankly, it was practically ridiculous. While often the lone Outback with a Box on Top on the roads through the south, we were suddenly just one among many. Very many. Had we so wished, between just the five of us and a few neighbors we could have put on a Subaru with Utility Rack demonstrative parade. In fact, that is more or less what a traffic jam looks like in Northern Colorado. I guess the appropriate quote would start out something like “Birds of a feather….”
Anyway, that evening we headed straight to the Whistler Café, where old Boston friends Derek and Denilo were gathered with the other band members preparing to start their show. Having doubled the number of folks in the bar with our arrival, the band decided to begin, promptly launching into an outstanding performance of African, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Afrobeat and Electric inspired music. Check Full Tang out here!
We stayed until the very end, once again surprised but not shocked by the bizarre reality of hanging out with mutual friends from such different places, in a tiny mountain town where we had all so serendipitously convened. The music was excellent to boot, a stunning display of the band’s grasp on regional African music and each member’s ability to switch effortlessly between a variety of instruments. In addition to covering Zimbabwean and Nigerian traditionals (complete with lyrics sung in native tongue) they played danceable reggae and both Talking Heads and Beatles covers during the set, securing a place in our personal music hall of excellence.
After the longer-than-you-would-expect drive back to Orion’s home in the canyon, we fell into bed, realizing our plans to rise early and go climbing with Ben were probably already shattered. Although they were (some of us enjoyed an opportunity to sleep in well beyond sunrise) we were not at a loss for things to do.
After a late and luxurious breakfast, we packed up a Subaru with toys and headed out with Ben, Ryan and Orion’s friend Jackson (Orion had gone into Boulder to run errands).
The amazing thing about a place like Boulder is the array of recreational entertainment available at any given time. In addition to a picnic lunch we had packed inner tubes, a slack line and hoola hoops into Ben’s car. We found a spot in a river-side park and passed most of the afternoon balancing on the line and swimming in the river. By the end of the afternoon, the boys had not only convinced us to get the necessary parts to build our own slack line, but had also talked Adam into starting up his very own, very manly, yoga practice!
Already drawing our time in the area to a close, we headed home for a final meal, talking late into the night with the boys. Orion is a fantastic guitarist and serenaded us with songs, accompanied by Ryan on drums and the rest of us singing along whenever possible. In the morning, we rose early to begin packing, saying a reluctant goodbye to our friends before starting the drive.
We made it just a few miles before stopping in Boulder. It was Saturday morning and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the city’s renowned Farmer’s Market.
Absolutely bustling with activity, our short visit grew into a long one, as we stopped to enjoy some hot tamales for breakfast, before interviewing Adam, of Regional Agriculture Supply (RAS) and Ital Farm.
Adam and his wife run a tiny farm, on just one acre that they lease from another couple who work at the farmer’s market (They have a knife sharpening business). Between leasing land that they could not afford to buy in the Boulder area, and having access to shared machinery and tools, they are able to run RAS as their family business.
Adam agreed to interview with us and shared some very important insight. He explained that he is primarily responsible for growing and harvesting their food (he had garlic, carrots, kale and some other greens), while his wife grows herbs that she uses to make an array of fine soaps. In a shared stand they sell both products, earning approximately five times their investment on the soap, while just making only marginal profit on the vegetables.
Another aspect of the soap that he emphasized was their ability to stay in business year round by selling it throughout the produce off-season. Please visit their website (which might one day feature some of Still Life’s Adam’s photographs!) here.
From Boulder, we really did get on the road, making quick time towards Casper where we are writing from today. As usual, we are loving it here (Where ever you go, there you are) and are having trouble leaving. This afternoon we plan on driving towards Thermopolis, where we will camp out near some more hot springs. From there, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and the world await. We are currently wishing that we owned a time machine.
Please stay tuned for pictures and stories from our time with Tina, Ray, and A.J here in High and Dry Central Wyoming.