Joel Reichenberger: October still is awesome |

Joel Reichenberger: October still is awesome

— I always forget what October is like in the Colorado mountains. That's a compliment to the Colorado mountains and perhaps a bit of insight into how we — or at least I — remember things.

I remember the snow. I remember the short, dreary days and the start of the miserable cold, weather that's eagerly welcomed when the ski lifts are running but feels cruel in the offseason.

I generally dissuade anyone from visiting during those times, and I'm unsure what I'd take them to do.

So when my out-of-state girlfriend announced she was coming this month, I didn't work outdoor activities into the plan.

I thought, "Why bother? The leaves will be gone, and the trails will be covered in snow."

She is about as outdoors-inclined as I am, and I'm about half as outdoors-inclined as many of the nuts (that's an endearing term, I swear) who populate this city.

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We've logged a few outdoor adventures, of course. An August trip featured a tubing run down the Yampa, an excursion highlighted not only by a post-cruise brew at The Boathouse Pub but by me flipping over a rock. I stood there laughing at myself, everything in order, but for inexplicable reasons didn't hang on to my tube. It rocketed away, and I had to tip-toe — barefoot, sans shirt and sopping — to the shore, run down the Yampa River Core Trail absorbing "Nice work, idiot" looks from every person I passed to get back ahead of the action. Fortunately, though she'd been nowhere near it, she caught my tube on her own and saved the day, helping earn herself the label "keeper."

We spent another day shooting sporting clays at Three Quarter Circles Ranch.

But an October trip? I figured we'd spend our time hitting happy hours, eating nice dinners and maybe catching movies. Don't underestimate the power of Steamboat, though, especially the always-spectacular Fish Creek Falls.

Somehow, that must-see previously hadn't made the cut, so last week we stopped by, made the short walk down to the bridge in front of the first falls and soaked it in.

The day was perfect. The falls are incredible in the spring when they roar like a fighter jet. They're inspiring in the winter, when they stand silent and frozen. And they're awesome in the fall, the water blasting over the rocks and under the bridge.

It was a worthy stop and a good day. We weren't long-hike equipped, but we left wishing we had been.

The second half of the past week was more how I remember October. It's been cold, and it's been snowy. I — gasp! — turned on my heaters Thursday night, but even during the day, I've had little desire to enjoy the outdoors.

That's not the weather that defines October in Colorado, though, and I hope as next October approaches, it's the awesome fall day at the foot of Fish Creek Falls I remember and not the late-month cold snap.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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