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Pawnee Grasslands-the full skinny!

Greetings Muckers!


Thanks to the USFS, AERC Mountain Region Sanctioning Director Linda
VanCeylon & the AERC Executive Committee, the rained-out Pawnee Grasslands
Ride has been postponed to May 8-9.  As planned, there will be distances of
15/30 (9:00 AM start), 50 (8:00 AM), 75 & 100 (5:30 AM) miles on Saturday,
and 25 (9:00 AM) and 50 (8:00 AM) on Sunday.  Registration will begin at
4:00 on Friday.  The trails should be in very good shape due to all of the
moisture followed by a weeks worth of drying!

Due to flood conditions (see below) on Crow Creek, it is highly likely that
basecamp will be moved.  A decision will be made on this may be made as
early as Wednesday night, but probably not until Thursday night.  I will
email an update on Thursday night, with directions to a new camp, and signs
will be posted by Thursday night at the Crow Valley Recreation Area as to
how to get to a new campsite.

As I write this on Tuesday morning, two dams about three miles north of the
base camp are in high danger of collapsing (was "imminent danger" just last
night!); one is on Crow Creek, which goes through camp, and the other is at
the Heart Reservoir, which is on a tributary of Crow Creek.  Crow Creek
flows from the eastern Medicine Bow Mountain range west of Cheyenne through
Cheyenne, then turns south and eventually dumps into the Cache La Poudre.
It drains a huge area.  Previously, on Thursday night or Friday morning (I
believe), a very large, 80 year old earthen dam on the Creek  west of
Cheyenne was in danger of giving way, but so far has held.  Unfortunately,
a smaller dam just downstream of the big dam gave way.  To relieve the
pressure on the big dam, much more water than usual is being released
downstream.  Fortunately, Weld County authorities have been able to divert
much of the added water, but the question remains as to whether or not that
will be enough to stop the two nearby dams from being breached.

According to Duane Weber of the USFS at Pawnee, the Crow Valley Recreation
Area campground is temporarily closed as Crow Creek is well out of its
banks and some of the lower campsites are flooded.  However, where we camp
is on fairly high ground and is dry, as are the roads leading there.  With
two days of sunshine and the temperatures expected to continue climbing, it
looks as if the Grasslands course should be in very good shape by Saturday!
There is (obviously?) plenty of water in the low-lying areas all along the
trails, and the two-tracks should be dry but soft if the precipitation is
kept to a minimum the rest of the week.  The temps are predicted to be in
the 70's on the weekend.

Now the fun part:  Until last spring, our 10th Annual Pawnee Grasslands
Ride, there hadn't been more than a cupful of water in Crow Creek where we
cross in over 25 years.  I drove my van, the one that gets stuck in spit on
asphalt, over it many times.  Well, for those of you that really weren't
there and those of you that were but weren't and those of you who knew you
were there but wished you weren't, everyone did a bunch of swimming in and
out of camp all day long as the Creek was about 4 feet deep.  As of last
night, again according to Duane, the Creek is now about 8 feet deep.  Once
again, however, he expects that by Saturday it should be back closer to 4
feet, regardless of what happens to the dams.  With all the problems this
created last year, it is again highly likely that camp will be moved so
that we do not have to cross the Creek anywhere on the course.

Stay tuned for details, and stay dry!

                                                        1999 ENDURANCE RIDE

Postponed to May 8-9!:  11th PAWNEE GRASSLANDS RIDE 15/30/50/75/100-25/50
(Briggsdale, Colorado).

August 2-6:  3rd ROCKY MOUNTAIN RIDE 55/55/55/55/25-55
***AERC & UMECRA Sanctioned ***AERC Pioneer Award Event
2 - "Medicine Bow", Arlington, WY
3 - "Gus Ehlin & Cinnabar", Centennial, WY
4 - "Rawahs", Mountain Home/WyColo, WY
5 - "Montgomery Pass", Gould, CO
6 - "Cache La Poudre", Red Feather Lakes, Indian Meadows & Stove Prairie, CO
Pre-Registration deadline is July 1st; deposit is $25 per day.  Space is
limited to 60 starting riders per day.

September 4-6:  4th HORSETHIEF PASS 30/50-15/30/50-30/50 (Walden,
Colorado).   ***AERC Pioneer Award Event.  ***New Location!

September 25:  2nd F.R.E.E.* MOONLIGHT RIDE 15/35/50 (Boxelder Trails,
Wellington, Colorado).  ALL ride proceeds go to benefit Front Range
Exceptional Equestrians (Post Office Box 272452, Fort Collins, CO
80527-2452) for recreational & therapeutic riding programs for the diabled.

For all rides (except the RMR), the pre-registration deadline is 10 days
(postmarked) before the ride; pre-registration deposit is $25.00.

                  ***PLEASE, IF YOU DON'T RIDE THE RIDE, VOLUNTEER!***

"There is no better way to see the world than from the back of a horse."

- Teddy Roosevelt

Mail:  1600 West Plum Street #28-H, Fort Collins, Colorado  80521
Home Phone/Fax:  970-491-8891 (evenings after 9:00 pm are best)
Pager:  970-593-4928

A portion of the proceeds from these rides will go to benefit:
        The Children's Hospital (1056 East 19th Avenue, Box 153, Denver, CO
80218) for Inherited Metabolic Disease Clinic research;
        The Crazy Horse Grass Roots Club (Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation,
Avenue of the Chiefs, Black Hills, Crazy Horse, SD  57730-9508) for Native
American scholarships.

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