2. Summer road trip Colorado…July/August.2019

Day 6 7.8
I went into town today, looking forward to hiking with a friends daughter from Lawrenceshe just moved here a few weeks ago.  But, our meet up didnt work out, as it sometimes happens, so I went ahead & took off for the trail.  The Walrud Gulch hike is just south of town & usually has wildflowers along the trails early in the season.  The trail faces south, so it melts out quickly.  It’s also called the Caves trail because after going up & up & up a bunch of switchbacks, you can see a rock outcropping with a cave inside of it.  This is also the area that’s known to have mountain lions roaming around…at least they are seen more here than they are closer to CB or out towards Gothic.  This fact is always somewhere in the not-so-far recesses of my mind when I hike this trail.  The sky looked a little moody this morning, but I headed up the switchbacks breathing heavily as I went.  Some years when I hike this trail, I go up to the highest point, then turn around & hike back down.  The other option is hike the trail in it’s whole length then hike the dusty road back to the car.  Near the trailhead at the other end of the hike, is the only time Danny & I thought we saw a mountain lion.  It was so strange…it was a dash of something big & fast; we both stopped in our tracks thinking the same thing.  Then all the birds quit singing & it got super eerily quiet.  We both won’t ever forget that; I always think of that when I’m hiking this trail & today I was planning to hike to the end.

I’ve seen more wildflowers here on previous trips, but there were still tons here & it was beautiful!

Lotsa Lupine!

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And then the storm blew in.  I had just put on my rain jacket & put my camera away when the hail started.  I turned around & headed back down the trail as the hail turned to rain as I went lower.  It all ended once I got to the car…of course. But I’m not one to take chances on exposed mountain sides.  The sky didn’t look great still, but the air was dry.

I drove to one of my favorite spots across the road from all the big rich homes on Mt. Crested Butte…the parking area over looks this valley where horses pasture & beyond that is the Snodgrass trail.  This bit of land just sold this past spring, & I don’t know what the plans are for it.  I’m really hoping it’s not to develop more crazy big over the top homes that are only occupied seasonally, or for that matter any homes or any structures.  I love this view & hope it stays just like it is.  I sat here as it sprinkled on & off & the temps dropped a little, just reading & watching the valley.

At 4:00pm I went to the best happy hour in CB…Bonez.  They make the strongest margarita’s & you can get one, white queso dip & chips for $10.  Yum!  I lingered over my food & drink & used their Wifi to check out some stuff on my phone.  At 5:00, I walked the length of the town back towards the park in town where on Monday nights, they have free concerts.  These are great.  Most of the time the music is good, but always the people watching is great.  Lots of families come, so there are always little kids running around & dancing below the stage.  So many locals come to these concerts.  They have a couple of food trucks & some local beer & wine for sale too. It looked like it might rain, or it could be dry…you never know in the mountains.  I was meeting Carole & some of her friends here.  I met Carole & her husband Michael last year at one of these concerts, then again hiking Scarp Ridge trail.  We became fast friends & have kept in touch all through the winter.  

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Carole introduced me to a new friend this year, Anu.  I love meeting new people from here!

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Day 7 7.9
It was chilly in camp this morning.there was frost on the tents & my windshield.  The suns hits my camp about 8:15am, but Im usually up making coffee before 7.  So, out came the hat & gloves & a blanket to sit on & cover my legs as I looked for wildlife & listened to the birds & the river.  I drove into town mid morning & caught up on some phone calls & internet stuff.  I went for an early lunch at Momos.so freaking good!

I was picking up Sherry at the house her family had rented & the two of us were heading to Emerald Lake up Gothic road.  I hadn’t been that far up the road yet & was glad to see it all again.  As stated earlier, this is such a magical place!  We drove as far as we could, parking on the huge flat rock where the road currently ends.  After loosing both my snow caps & doubling back to find one of them, we took off walking up the road.  I used to call this the scary road, which I don’t do anymore.  It’s not that the road is less scary, it’s just my way of trying to not frighten myself every time I drive it.  But there won’t be any driving this road this year, as we rounded the bend in the road, there was a 30'-35’ high snow plug across the road.

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So, we started the climb.  It was not only tall, but practically went all the way to the lake.  As we traversed all the snow, we could see so much avalanche debris.  Sadly, it filled in most of the lake.  This lake is normally so magnificent & aptly named Emerald because thats the beautiful color of the water.  We could look back up to the road & see more snowfields covering it as it continues to Schofield Pass.  It was all a mess & there was very little water thawed & not covered in debris.

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Looking up to the road that continues to the pass.

(photo credit: Sherry Ott)  Me coming back down the snowplug.


But, it was still a great hike & so much fun hiking with Sherry!  At the end of our hike, I found my other snow cap!  And Sherry got a big kick out the fact I brought my travel hula hoop with me.  She even video taped me hooping & put it on her Instagram pageit was pretty funny (Im sure that will be the only time ever in history someone tapes me hooping!).

She invited me back to the house after the hike & her parents (who are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary) joined us on the back deck & we all enjoyed a beer & some great conversation.  Sherry also offered up their washing machine, so while we chatted & drank, I did a load of laundry (much needed…thanks!).  It had been a pretty perfect day!  I’m planning on meeting up with Sherry again soon, as she’ll be back from a hike in Newfoundland & has invited me to stay at her house when I come into Denver to pick up Danny when he flies out here.  I’m really looking forward to that visit!

I ended the great day with another campfire & starry night sky watching.

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Day 8 7.10
I have really been enjoying my lazy mornings in camp, just drinking in both coffee & the views.  Once I finally headed into town, I made another trip to the library & got to FaceTime with Claire & EmmaI sure do miss those girls & wish I had the capability to chat with them at camp.  But this morning, I got to read all the books to Claire Ichecked out for her…Emma is still too small to want to be read to over the phone.  It seems all I’m good at with Emma is making faces…but I think that’s pretty fun & I also think she believes it is too!

I finally got on the trail & even though it’s a short one (all the big ones are too hard to get to & snow covered), it’s so far been the best for wildflowers!  They were out by the thousands & spectacular!  Brush Creek trail is pretty popular because it’s so easy & the views over the East River are lovely!

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The mountain sides were covered!

White Lupine!  Ive never seen this before!  

I loved all the tiny waterfalls you can see where the river is overflowing into these little ponds.

At 4:30, I met Rick at the Brick for a beer.  Rick works on the mountain at the ski resort in the winter, but in the summer hes in charge of the RMBL Visitors Center.  Hes such a nice guy & I always enjoy our visits.  We caught up on whats going on with each other & our families & the town over a couple of beers.

Then I headed out to camp for an early eveningstill excited to be there.  I read & read & read.Ifinding some really good reads & love having the time to take in some good books.

Day 9 7.11
A friend of mine, Cheryl & her daughter Cara drove in late last night from Lawrence.  Cheryl’s daughter, Conner is the one who just moved here a few weeks ago, so theyre in town to see & visit with her.  Theyre camping in the trees near the zoo right down the road from me, so I stopped in there this morning for a welcoming chat.  I stayed longer than I originally thought I would, but it was nice catching up with the two of them.  It had been since before I left on my Spring road trip since Id seen Cheryl.  While I was gone, Cheryl & Cara also took a long trip tooa month in Europe & it sounds like it was an epic trip!

After I left there, I went to yet another of my favorite places to eat, The Last Steep.  Owned by a couple of Kansas City brothers, Ive gotten to know them over the years & enjoy their food.  I ordered my favorite burger from thereone with grilled pineapple, cream cheese, jalapeños & teriyaki sauce & it comes with yummy fries.  I always have to take part of the burger home with me & finish it off in a couple of hours.  But it was great & I sat at the outside counter on the deck that looks over Elk street.

Then I set off up Kebler Pass road to hike up to Copley Lake.  It’s a short hike that always, always, always kicks my butt.  It’s about 1 3/4 mile up an old jeep road, but it’s 1,100’ elevation gain, so that’s always why I’m huffing & puffing & stopping & wondering why this little hike feels hard.  There was still snow on the road & muddy trails & water-filled trails that when you hike through them you wonder if you’re on the trail or just walking in a stream.  But the day was beautiful, it was quiet (except for my loud breathing) & who cares how long it takes you to hike?

A few flowers starting to bloom.

I was the only one up there & it was gorgeous!

Melted out snow from underneath from the water.

After the hike I went back to camp.  Took my little version of a bottle bath & sat & read.  Id been invited to go to Cheryls camp later this evening for a fire & a beer.  It was a nice evening, got to hear more about their trip & then Conner & her boyfriend came out to camp too.  

I headed the short distance back to camp, read & then dozed off to sleep under another beautiful star filled sky.

Day 10 7.12
I decided to go out for breakfast & coffee this morning & theres really only one place I love to go for thatParadise Diner.  Yum, Yum, I do love breakfast out & it was a nice change from the cold soaked oats Ive been eating most mornings.  I stayed in town a bit, messing around on my phone then decided to combine some town hikes for my hike of the day.  

Theres a couple of ways to access these trails, but I started at Woods Walk just up Kebler.  Its a trail so many locals walk, hike, jog & bike, but also visitors use these trails a lot because they are close to town & you dont need much time or any special vehicle to get to the trailheads.  Woods Walk starts in the Aspensbeautiful!  I walked to the end of that trail, then jumped on the Budd trail, which goes back up the mountain, then to the Upper Lower Loop, then down the old jeep road, then by the new Gunsight Pass Bridge, then back on the Lower Loop till it connected with Woods Walk to take me back to my car.  It was 7 miles of wildflowers, great views, the beautiful Slate River, & only a few hikers & bikers.

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Peanut Lake below with Mt. Crested Butte in the background.

Crested Butte was a mining town a long time ago & still lots of mining crap left in the woods from back then.

So much beautiful Lupine!

The new bridge they built last fallso pretty.

I always love this view of the Slate, from the Lower Loop, with the mountains in the background.

After my hike I went back into town & had a nice conversation with Jill.  I miss having her here with me this yearthe first time in a long time.  Shes currently on a big family vacation in Florida, but it was great to get caught up with her.  

Back out at camp, the skies got super colorfulso pretty!

Day 11 7.13
No photos from today.  Its Saturday, which means its crazy camper time.  I had a couple in a tent grab the spot next to me, which is great for them since it’s the second best spot on the road! (Mine is the best!) I also had a Mercedes Class C with a Jeep pull in yesterday while I was gonepulled in not to a camping spot, but on the dead end road that fronts my campsite.  And just lovely, they had a big dog too (people tend to not pick up dog poop when youre in the national forest..even if theyre are people camping nearby.  And, I cant tell you how many times Ive nearly had a dog hike his leg on my tent).  I was just grateful he didnt run his generator & hoped he kept all tucked inside (as it seems a lot of people who camp in RVs do) because he was in direct site of where I get out to pee.  And I didnt care.  I was now boxed in.  But my poor neighbors had it worsethey had someone come in late at night & squeeze in setting up their tent about 20 from them.  So, today I decided to stick close.  

I made a quick trip to town for a bag of ice then came back to camp.  My Mercedes RV had leftyay!  I stayed in camp reading, but then went down the road about a mile to check a river crossing.  I want to hike up to Poverty Gulch but the water crossing is pretty scary still.  Then I was back at camp.  

Early in the evening, two cars filled with kids (young adults) came barreling into camp.  They both parked right next to my tent & next to my neighbors tent (they must be really feeling claustrophobic having a tent on one side & a car on the other side of their tent).  They bolted out carrying lots of stuff—coolers, tents, grocery sacks & a banjo— & headed down the dead end road right past the “No camping sign”.  They set up a big camp down in the flowers near the river & only made about a dozen trips back & forth to their cars.  One guy walked right by me on his phone telling someone he would send them directions on how to get there. Yikes. 

My legitimate neighbors came over & introduced themselves.  The woman wondered where all those kids had goneI said down the hill & onto the wildflowers.  They were mountain bikers & leaving tomorrow afternoon, but really enjoying their time in CB.  They just didnt get the crazy campers here.  I opened another beer & another book & enjoyed the rest of the night.  To the kids credit, I never heard them at allnot even the banjo & none of their other friends ever showed up.  

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