Gilpin County Corner with Roger Baker

Roger Baker 

Roger Baker, Gilpin County


Gilpin County gave a rather rough reception to the cyclists from the Ride the Rockies bicycle tour Sunday.
The better and more serious riders were in and out of the County early enough, but those stragglers who lagged behind ran into lightning, rain and even some hail around 11:30 or so along the Central City Parkway. The underpass at I-70 was packed about that time with riders waiting out the rain.
And though things might have dried up for a time, the last riders to leave the County really ran into trouble up at the Continental Divide on top of Berthoud Pass; the roads were so snowy and slushy that the ride organizers gave up and made arrangements to bus the last 200 or so shivering cyclists down into Fraser for the night.
Scheduling outdoor events up here is always iffy, and June is iffier than most months. The preceding two days—Friday and Saturday—we held our annual Flea Market at the Fairgrounds. This year it was accompanied by a gymkhana—a horse riding event for equestrians that’s part of a three-event series (the next one is July 19) that will culminate at the County Fair in August.  The riders (and the bargain shoppers) were blessed with pretty fine weather, so we’re grateful for that.
The Fair itself, of course, can sometimes suffer some stormy weather; thunderstorms will often form in the afternoon, and the question becomes whether they will roll out into the plains before dropping their rainfall or whether they’ll get worked up enough to unload over the Fairgrounds.
This weekend is Father’s Day, furthermore, and as of this writing the forecast for that Sunday is fair; still, that’s a long time away, and things can change in a hurry. Even with a fine forecast, in fact, experienced grillmasters will think about a late lunch (or even a brunch) rather than an evening event.
Dads and kids are all welcome to take a break from the barbecue long enough to join in the Father’s Day fishing clinic at William C. Russell Park above Central City. It’s free (and there will be food, if you don’t want to chance cooking), but fisherpeople have to bring their own fishing equipment and bait. Co-sponsored by the Elks, this event is always a good time—when it doesn’t get rained out.  It’s from 1 to 4; call the Community Center at 303-582-1453 for details.
From a government standpoint, however, these interruptions are less important (even when they are our events being interrupted) than the cumulative effect of all this wet weather. North Clear Creek is already running high, which has led us to impose a 10-ton weight limit on the bridge connecting Upper Apex Road to Apex Valley Road.
Since we’re still working to wrap up the United Way assistance for those affected by last September’s flooding, the last thing we want would be another torrential downpour. Downstream communities—especially Greeley—are already being impacted by the runoff of our heavy snowpack, and we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to spring flooding.
And as Sunday’s unusual high-altitude tornadoes in Fairplay and Lake George remind us, even those dangerous weather phenomena can cause trouble in the high country.
Still, it’s nice to not be worrying about fire danger this early in the year, as we have during some summers. Mitigation projects (not always popular) and planning efforts continue, as we try to be better prepared for that major mountain threat.
So, even though the rain may often be inconvenient (and even dangerous, especially to cyclists), it’s very welcome this time of year.
Just enjoy your mornings….