If you were to Wiki(pedia) ‘Steve Canyon,’ you’d learn that “Steve Canyon was a long-running American adventure comic strip by writer-artist Milton Caniff. It was published from January 13, 1947, (starting shortly after Caniff had retired from penning his previous popular strip: Terry and the Pirates), until June 4, 1988, shortly after Caniff’s death.

It was a popular comic strip. It was so popular that the town of Idaho Springs, Colorado adopted him to represent their town. “A statue to Steve Canyon was erected in Idaho Springs, Colorado, and a nearby mountain canyon was renamed “Steve Canyon”. Happy Easter was reportedly modeled after an eccentric who lived in nearby Central City.”

Idaho Springs was not the only town to erect a monument to the comic strip, though. “A mosaic, of Steve Canyon’s ward Poteet Canyon, stands in front of the city Fire Station in the town of Poteet, Texas.”

I spent the Independence Day holiday weekend in Idaho Springs. Why? Camping, firework observation, jeeping, astronomy and running.

Camping
Camping was great. We went to the town of Idaho Springs. Interstate 70 was jammed and traffic moved very slowly. We headed toward the ‘Indian Hot Springs,” but turned onto Montane Road. Out of the residential area, the road turned into a National Forest Service (NFS) road. As I drove, we looked for a camping spot with a good view of our sky.

We expected it to be very busy with other dry land campers. We didn’t see anybody else. It was an amazing quiet and private place. We found a great place and set up camp. I ran the trail we drove on, then settled in for an afternoon nap.

Friday night, I slept well. Saturday, I slept even better. I woke up Saturday night to the patter of rain. We stayed dry and comfortable all night. Amazing what a little time off can do for a person.

Fireworks
It was after 9:30 PM that we heard a firework display start. From the distance from us, it was the Central City event. It lasted a long time. The explosions were crisp and clear. The colors were dramatic. It was pretty cool to sit at your camp and watch fireworks display in the evening sky. Soon after that display ended, another display in Georgetown started. We could not see it directly but we heard it and light from the display illuminated the cloud of explosive smoke that was filling the valley.

Jeeping
Saturday, we aired down the tires. I ran from the camp site to the park restroom down in Idaho Springs. Tom and Molly drove down. We met at the park and went off to ride the Red Elephant Hill trail.

We met two other rigs at the base of the trail. They allowed us to take the lead. We worked together to conquer the trail.

Wild flowers can be interesting in Colorado.

As the snowmelts, the wild flowers follow the elevation zones. You can follow them as they spread up the mountain across the Summer season. I think it may be a divine way of reminding us that life is ever present and definitely follows a plan. The field in the picture is near the top of the trail.

We ran all of the obstacles and had a lot of fun.


At the end of the trail, we took off for the Mill Creek Loop.

The Mill Creek Loop is best known for an NFS living museum project known as the “Empire Hilton,” at the original location of the town.

We broke off from the group and headed toward Bill Moore Lake. We did get near it, but heavy snow drifts still covered most of the trail.

We headed down to Empire and had a great late lunch at “The Sweet Shop.” They saw Molly and brought us an ice cream cone decorated with dogbones. She was happy with it and consumed it happily!

Astronomy
This picture shows how a telescope is supposed to look.

This is how the telescopes looked for most of Saturday night.

We have an 8″ S/C reflector that is computer driven. We also have a short tube 80mm refractor manual telescope.

Friday night started out great. There was only a 5% moon. There were some clouds but they were moving toward the east. Both telescopes were setup and ready to be aligned.

We were able to see Mars, Saturn and many of the Messier objects. We took a break to watch some fireworks about that time.

After the fireworks, we went into the tent to warm up. After some warm up time, Tom went back out but found the explosives smoke all about in the air. That smoke was light absorbing, so we called it for the night.

We covered the telescopes as we went for the trail ride. Good thing, too! We came back to find that rain had fallen. There was enough to collect in chairs traps and other places. The ground sucked it up.

We decided not to uncover them until it was safe to.

Some friends came up to view with us, but we never really got a chance. The brunt of the clouds had moved east, but wispy thin clouds remained. It was like gazing through a haze.

It was fun but not so fruitful an activity.

Running
What is the most fun about going to the Mountains? Trail running, of course. What a chance to get out to nature. The entire road that we were camping on was about 5 miles long. It ended at a private gate.

Friday, I ran about 4.25 miles by running from the camp site to the gate, then below the camp and back to the gate again. Molly joined me for most of it.

Saturday, I ran from the camp down to the restrooms at the park. It just worked out as a motivator. It worked!

I twisted my left ankle at 1.38 miles. It really hurt at first. I sprained that ankle in high school and it has been loose ever since. If I step (run?) on it wrong it can get painful quickly. Within a few moments, it felt better again and I hit the raod (a little slower).

Sunday morning, after we packed up camp, I headed toward the gate. Molly ran with me for the 1.60 miles (seems like it was uphill both ways). I left her at the Jeep and headed toward the restrooms again. Here is the elevation profile of that run.

As you can see, it was a great practice run for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon that I will be running on August 9th.
Here I am running down one of the many steep areas.

It was a great weekend and a lot of fun!