16. National Park Road Trip…April/May/June 2016

day 48…6.7
I finally drove into Gunny for shower, did a little shopping, bought ice as always & topped off the gas tank. Once back in CB, I stopped at the Momo for yummy Nepalese food. then drove out Kebler Pass to see if could hike up to Irwin Lake.  The road still had tons of snow on it & some mud,. Some people had been through, but I turned around not wanting to get stuck.  I kept driving out  Kebler Pass to horse park ranch looking for wildlife, but all I saw were rivers out of control & thick snow covered mountains. I stopped at a pull off & ate my lunch.  There were still snowmobiles parked all over on both sides of the roadwinter not having been that long ago here in the mountains.

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Once back in town, I went to the Brick.  I went inside to see if they’d added any new beers & was happy to see they’d added Avery’s Tweak.one of my very favorite Imperial Stouts at 17.5%.  I was walking out to the outdoor bar & someone shouted my name…it was Rick Horn whom I’d met last summer.  He’s the head guy at the RMBL Visitors Center.  We sat at the outdoor bar, enjoying the fantastic warm mountain weather (kind of an oxymoron for this time of year) & visited for about 1.5 hours.  He’s got a great life here, working at the ski school at the resort in winter & RMBL in the summer.  We talked a lot about stuff happening at RMBL…a bee project, the changes there & all along Gothic road, the Marmot Club & researchers, 4Runners & I asked him about the Mexican Cut...property owned by RMBL up in the mountains & off limits to the public.  They study a rare high alpine salamander ….I’ve always wanted to go up there & see the place.  He also told me one of their long time researchers had seen the biggest male bear he’d ever seen in Gothic that morning.  It was cinnamon in color & we wondered together if it was the daddy bear of the three I’d see the day before. I really enjoyed our visit—I love learning new things & especially all things nature & in a place I love so much.  We said good bye for now….I’m sure I’ll see him once the Visitors Center opens & before I leave.  While Rick & I were still visiting, one of the long time but now part time bartenders at the Brick came & sat down.  She’s such a sweet young woman & we’ve kind of gotten to know each other over the years.  When Rick left we started to chat & she told me all about her 28 day trip rafting down the Grand Canyon…her 4th trip down the river.  Her & 7 friends & 5 boats!  I asked her about the logistics of planning such a trip…it was fascinating!  She showed me some pics of the trip too…just awesome!  It was 7 & I was going to a 7:15 show at the sweet old Majestic Theatre.  I rarely go see movies, but loved the remake of Alice in Wonderland several years ago, so I wanted to see Alice Through the Looking Glass.  It was good, but I didn’t LOVE it, like I do the first movie.  It was pitch black as I drove back out to camp, seeing at least 1/2 dozen deer along the way…only three jumped in front of my car, but not too close.  By the time I was back in camp…noting several new neighbors…the stars were beaming….thousands of them!   I miss my hiking when I’m here now…its  so very early in the season, but how I love to visit with my Crested Butte friends!

day 49…6.8
I stayed in camp a long time this morning.   The mornings in camp have been beautiful & one nice advantage to the off season.  During hiking season, Im up & out early on the trail, not staying in camp very long.

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Here’s a view of the Oh Be Joyful falls I drive by on the way to & from camp everyday.

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When I went to town, I visited the library…getting another book & turning one in.  My hike for the day is known as the ‘Caves’ hike or Walrod Gulch.  Usually the whole side of the mountain is covered with wild flowers, but today there were just a few brand new baby blooms.  The hike starts straight up a series of switchbacks & it kicked my butt!  Really felt like a flatlander.  But I had the trail all to myself, took my time, made it to the top & enjoyed all the views!

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Looking up to the caves from the road below; then the view as you get closer.  The third pic is the view standing on top of the cave, looking through it to the trail below.

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Some of the views from the top.



I hiked around the top of the trail, then headed back down…sweaty & tired.  This trailhead is south of town, through the town of Crested Butte South then out a dirt road called Cement Creek.  Love this view of Crested Butte as your driving north & just headed into town.

I couldn’t resist another Avery Tweak at the Brick & so I soon found my self sitting on the stool at the outdoor bar.  Afterwards, I drove over to the CB Arts Center where they were showing a documentary called “Bag It’.  CB is trying to become a designated ‘bag free “town (one time use plastic bags)…there are only a few of these designated cities in the states, that don’t use single use plastic bags.  I DETEST plastic bags & soda bottles, so I was curious as to what the evening would bring.  The documentary was super good…made by a guy out of Telluride.  I learned a lot!  CB is implementing a program to borrow a cloth bag & then you can return it on your next visit.  The whole program was started by a senior at the local high school & sounds wonderful.  San Francisco has this designation & they seem to be doing great without plastic bags.  There was a raffle afterwards, which I won a box of Acli-Mate & an hour free nutrition consultation with a naturopath in Gunnison.  It was pitch black once again, just as last night, as I drove back to camp trying not to hit any deer.  Another beautiful starry night & in the middle of the night I was out looking at the wonderful sky & a bright milky way!

day 50…6.9
I read in the morning then went into town.  I stopped by Kates house, my artist friend to see if shed like the free one hour consultation I won last night (I kept the Acli-Mate) & she was thrilled to get it…she already goes to the naturopath & loves her!  I toured her 1890’s house & the “fish bus” Kate had painted 20 years ago that was one of the buses used to go between the town & mountain resort.  When it was retired, she took it back & is trying to make it into her studio.  Here are some pics of the cutest little mountain town I just love!

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…and the Bricks outdoor bar…which I seem to spend a good deal ‘post-hike’ time & money at!

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I decided to drive back out to Gothic road & maybe see the bears again or some wildlife & if nothing else, be in an awesome place to sit & read.  The road was still closed past the river, so I just sat in the pullout by the river, ate some lunch, had a beer & my camera ready.  It rained off & on, but I enjoyed my quiet time, but sadly, saw no bears & no elk….but these views are always wonderful & I NEVER get tired of seeing them!

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The Visitors Center at RMBL opens tomorrow.

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I’d just gotten off the gravel part of Gothic Road & hit the pavement, when a little fox crossed in front of me…looks like he had dinner to go!

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On my way back out to camp, still early in the evening, I spotted a deer just sitting by the road & a little marmot.

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I built a fire & just enjoyed watching the sky turn colors, then dark & the moon rise…another good day in Paradise!

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