Searching for the holy grail of river cleanup day: a matching pair of river sandals | SteamboatToday.com
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Searching for the holy grail of river cleanup day: a matching pair of river sandals

It takes less than an hour to fill a small trash bag during Yampa River Cleanup Day.
Tom Ross

2016 Yampa River Cleanup

What: Trash pickup along the banks of the river followed by pizza and beer. Volunteers receive free T-shirts.

Who: American Rivers, the city of Steamboat Springs, CAN’d Aid Foundation, Colorado Water Trust, Friends of the Yampa, Northwest Colorado Chapter of The Parrotheads and Yampatika

When: 9 a.m., July 9, meet at Little Toots Park on 12th Street in Steamboat Springs

— I was feeling a little restless in the office July 7 and assigned myself to go for a walk along the Yampa River where I could indulge in one of my favorite pastimes — picking up trash. You never know for sure what you are going to find on the Yampa this time of year.

In this case, I was aiming for the holy grail of all river pickers — a matching pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers. However, I was prepared to settle for a minor miracle — any matching pair of size 12 flip-flops.

In addition, I knew that I would be getting the jump on an ambitious crew of river enthusiasts that is expected to descend on the Steamboat town stretch of the Yampa at 9 a.m. July 9.



2016 Yampa River Cleanup

What: Trash pickup along the banks of the river followed by pizza and beer. Volunteers receive free T-shirts.

Who: American Rivers, the city of Steamboat Springs, CAN’d Aid Foundation, Colorado Water Trust, Friends of the Yampa, Northwest Colorado Chapter of The Parrotheads and Yampatika



When: 9 a.m., July 9, meet at Little Toots Park on 12th Street in Steamboat Springs

I enjoy a humorous approach to river cleanup, but it’s a serious matter. The river is a great place to recreate, but it’s not part of a water theme park. Instead, the river is a living natural system.

Steamboat’s commercial tubing outfitters are a thoughtful group of people who educate their clients on this subject. River Cleanup Day is a means of spreading the message to the broader public.

On Friday, I returned from my favorite river trash site with about four pounds of trash. My honey hole is not far downstream from the D-Hole where a series of manmade rock bars create eddies where the items lost by floaters tend to settle out. In the past, I have returned from this stretch with a fish stringer hooked up with as many as 10 rubber sandals and even a couple of gym shoes. But I’ve never found a matching pair.

After this outing, I had only picked up three pieces of footwear, and I surmised that more sandals will surface later in the summer after the river drops. I found a T-shirt and a pair of black tights, along with perfectly good, unopened plastic water bottles.

There was an unidentifiable chunk of rubber and plenty of silver and blue beer cans. There was only one microbrew can. You can take that as a comment on sociology if you want to.

My most precious find? A bright little orange container of mosquito repellant that looked brand new. It’s mine now.

Oh, there was one other thing. I picked up a mostly rotted, brown, lacy woman’s garment. Likely a blouse, or something related to a blouse. I don’t want to be too specific, but it was a size large and made in China.

If you recognize the description of this — ahem — personal item, and it holds sentimental value, feel free to stop by the trash can next to the Depot Art Center and reclaim it. No questions asked.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


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