Feature

33 Things Every Coloradan Should Know How To Do

March 2014

HOW TO SURVIVE RAPIDS

White-water rafting is a quintessential Colorado adventure: exhilarating, but inherently risky. Curtis Haley, a guide at Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting in Buena Vista with 18 years of experience on the Arkansas River, gives his advice for what to do if you go overboard on your next rafting trip. 

rapids» Get into the white-water swim position.  

Position yourself with your chest facing up so your head is above water; point your feet downstream; and keep your feet elevated so they don’t get caught in anything below the surface. 

» Watch where you’re going.  

Once you’re in the white-water swim position, keep your eyes downstream. If you’re barreling toward a rock, use your feet to push off it. Anything made of wood should be considered dangerous. “Strainers”—guide-speak for tree branches or logs that let water through but catch everything else—can ensnare a swimmer. Your best bet is to attempt to swim around them. If that’s not possible, flip around onto your stomach so you’re headfirst toward the tree, and make impact with your hands so your head stays above the surface. If you hit wood feet-first, they could get stuck and the current could force the rest of your body underwater.

» Don’t stand up. Period.  

Trying to stand up is how people’s feet get trapped, which can then pull their bodies below the surface—an incredibly dangerous scenario. There’s no quick rescue for these entrapments.

» Make your way to the raft or to shore.  

The goal is to get out of the water as quickly as possible. The raft is your first choice. Swimming is typically quicker than waiting for the guide to get to you: Stay on your back and backstroke, or turn over and swim freestyle, staying as flat against the surface as possible, with your feet up. 

» Get into the raft.  

Once you reach the boat, face the raft and grab the perimeter rope or a handle. Someone will assist you. Use any energy you have left to explode out of the water, straighten your arms, and kick to pull yourself up. The person on the raft will grab the shoulder straps of your life vest to help pull you the rest of the way. 

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HOW TO BAKE BREAD AT ELEVATION

recipe“There are no quick fixes for baking above sea level,” says Grateful Bread founder Jeff Cleary, who bakes bread for dozens of high-end local restaurants. On top of elevation, Cleary believes it’s Colorado’s arid climate that’s most responsible for the failed loaf. Our state’s lack of humidity means flour dries out faster. Combine that with varying elevations and climates across the state, and it’s a game of trial and error. That said, perfect bread is attainable if you’re willing to put in the time to experiment and track your results. Here, Cleary’s (greatly simplified) tips for altering your favorite recipes.

1. Incrementally reduce flour. Decrease your flour content (which effectively increases your hydration) until you have pliable dough that isn’t dry to the touch.

2. Reduce proofing time. The rule of thumb is when the dough doubles in size, it’s ready to bake, but at altitude, letting it double will cause it to be over-proofed. Instead, take it to a 60 to 70 percent increase in size rather than a full 100 percent increase.

3. Incrementally reduce yeast. If the dough rises too quickly (leaving less time to develop flavor), experiment by incrementally reducing the amount of yeast in the formula. This should yield a firmer dough.

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HOW TO CHANGE A FLAT TIRE ON YOUR BICYCLE

STEP 1 Curse audibly, then deflate the tube completely. Next, use a tire lever to pry one side of the tire away from the wheel rim. 

STEP 2 Remove the tube from inside the tire.

flatSTEP 3 Check the inside of the tire for pieces of glass, thorns, thistles, or anything else that may have caused the flat and could still be stuck in the tire. 

STEP 4 Partially inflate a new tube (make sure it’s the right size for your wheel) and place it back inside the tire.

STEP 5 Make sure the tube isn’t twisted or pinched. Fit one side of the tire back onto the rim with the tube still inside the tire, and then, using a tire lever or your thumbs, begin to work the opposite side of the tire onto the inside of the rim. Remove the air from the tube to fit the final inch of tire on the rim. Grasp the top of the tire and rock your hands back and forth until the tube fits. 

STEP 6 Inflate the tube.

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HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A WILDFIRE

fireMicki Trost of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control suggests two ways to prepare for the next wildfire season. First, register for your county’s emergency alert system. Then, follow the Firewise (csfs.colostate.edu) guidelines to limit flammable material near your home. 

[ 1 Store stacks of firewood and propane tanks at least 30 feet away from your home and, if possible, uphill.

[ 2 Water trees, plants, and mulch often; mow the lawn frequently enough so that grasses and weeds are no taller than six inches. 

[ 3 Remove dead vegetation from your gutters, under your deck, or anywhere else within 10 feet of your house.
[ 4 Use low-growing plants near your home; prune branches below 10 feet, particularly if they hang over your house.

 

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