Monday, May 16, 2005

Colorado: Episode 2: The Pueblo Play Park

After bruising and battering our bodies at the Salida Bowl trying to skate we headed out to Pueblo, Colorado for the Grand Opening of the Pueblo, Whitewater play park. There was much fanfare and hoopla by the politicians that decided they did a lot for the play park to happen but actually Bob from Edge Ski and Paddle Shop in Pueblo and a big group of local paddlers spent 8 years trying to get the playpark started, funded, and finished. Finally after all that time the park is complete and really fun. It is different from paddling experience than anywhere I have ever been before. The river is actually a big concrete viaduct that has been modified, and landscaped. As a matter of fact the locals even put in the trees and did much of the landscaping for the project. Bob was out early the morning of the grand opening chasing off Beavers that were trying to get to his precious trees he had just planted.

The first thing you notice is the huge mural that covers the river left wall. The wall itself is, I don't, 40 feet high? The mural goes from top to bottom and for as far as you can see. It actually is the worlds longest mural and is in the Guinness Book of Records. There have been artists from all over in to add to the mural as well as locals and even the local paddlers have put in a mural as well. Some of the artwork is amazing. Each of the rapids is named after one of the paintings near it.

We were there at close to the minimum flow for the summer which was 600 cfs more or less. The holes were mostly pretty shallow at that level but still deep enough to throw plenty of ends, blast, and spin. The last big hole was deeper and pretty powerful and you could throw as many ends as you wanted and I did get a huge loop with a little impact as I initiated. I think with 1000 cfs or more this thing is going to rock. There is also some potential I think for some of the holes to become waves at really high water. The local guys said they thought the river should get up over a couple grand and that should be great down there. There are several holes that two people could play at the same time. A couple of the holes were great for learning to cartwheel and learning the more advanced hole tricks. There were also a couple holes perfect for just learning how to side surf and spin, and like I said the last hole was pretty rowdy we saw a couple swims out of there but the way the park is set up its a nice pool right below so its easy rescues and actuallly pretty fun to body surf.
Here is some footage from the park as well as a harrowing extreme/ freestyle tubing trip that Kyle Scarbrough and I did down the Pueblo play park.
Freestyle Tubing

All in all a great time was had by all. We went out in downtown Pueblo a few times and had a blast.
Thanks again to Bob from Edge Ski/Paddle/Pack for taking care of us and the whole Pueblo Paddling Crew for making the park happen.

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