6. Colorado here I come! (& bringing my face masks)…June & July 2020

Day 36 7.13
This morning I started my day off by waiting in line at the Post Office among other masked customers.  I was trying to track down a package Id had shipped to a friends house from Amazon.  I found out they dont deliver packages (or maybe even mail) & it was sent back (a solar charger).  But the good news is that I can have mail (including packages) sent to General Delivery at the Post Officeeven better.  I donhave to bother anyone else by having packages delivered to their house (although Ive got a new screen tent coming by FedEx tomorrow to the same friends house).  So, I went out to the parking lot & ordered another solar phone charger.

Then I went & ate a yummy breakfast at Paradise Cafe.  It was raining like crazy outside so no hiking so far today.

In the parking lot, I FT with the girls & then with Jill.  It was time to do the dreaded-laundry so I went to the laundromat…which had been closed last year for remodeling & now it’s great!  All new machines!

Then I took off & went to Gunnison under dark & gloomy skies.  I went to the grocery store, filled the tank with gas & bought fuel for my backpacking stove at the local sporting goods store.  On my way back to Crested Butte, the skies started to clear, but I pulled off the road at a place I’ve driven by a hundred times…the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery.  I was just curious what it was like as a friend of mine walks her dog there all the time.

I pulled up & parked next to a pond where fisherman were scattered around.  I took the time to clean out & reorganize my 4Runner, then as it started to sprinkle, I made lunch.  After getting back into CB, I met my friend Rick at the Brick for a beer & a chat.  I headed back out to camp & spotted 11 elk up on the ridge!!!  So cool.  I dont like non-hiking daysbut I think a day off sometimes is good for my body.  And you would think when youre lucky enough to get to spend most days on the trail & nights in camp under star filled skies, doing mundane tasks would be no big dealbut it always feels like such a waste of time to me.

PS:  A burn ban started todayno campfires for awhile.

Day 37 7.14
I had a lazy morning in camp & my elk came strolling back through on the ridge12 this time!


I drove into town to buy ice, then out on Gothic road to the Snodgrass trailhead.  I haven’t done this hike yet this year, so I grabbed my pack & hit the dirt.  It’s a super popular trail with mountain bikers, tourists & locals, but it wasn’t too crowded today.

The Aspen forests are gorgeous!

And some nice flowers too!

With big views of Mt. Crested Butte & the town sitting below the mountain.

Whetstone Mountain

As I was driving back to my campsite after my hike, I passed a FedEx truck.  I threw the 4Runner in park & jumped out & asked if hed made a delivery for me at my friends house& the answer was yes.  It was on my way back & sitting on her front porch, so I nabbed it threw in the back.

My friend Talie was back from New Zealand & was coming out for a socially distant visit.  She pulled up right after I did, & we took our camp chairs down by the river & caught up.  She is such a fascinating person & has had so many amazing experiences in life & is the most positive person Ive ever met.  She goes to NZ every winter to hike & backpack, but was still there when they locked down.  She has many friends that live there & so she stayed with one of them & had just returned to CB last week.  It was such a great time catching up with her!

After Talie left, the rains, storms, wind & hail came!

I stayed dry in the back of Camper with a nice glass of Port & read.

Day 38 7.15
Another new-to-me trail, although a short one (just 4 miles) is called the Canal trail.  Id been out in this area last week when some ladies & their horses were getting ready to ride this trail & I asked them about it.  The skies were a bit sketchy this morning, but the trail was low, not exposed, as I saidshort.  The flowers were really pretty along the trail.

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And big views all around!

On my way back to camp, I ate at the Secret Stash & instead of having pizza, I had an appetizer called Meat Candy”…they were small bbq rubbed ribs.  They were good, but too much dry rub.  Im a sauce girlnot a rub girl!  Then I headed back to camp.

My friend Joanie from Longmont is coming today to camp & hike with me.  I met Joanie at a nearby camp on Slate about 5 years ago & we became fast friends.  I stayed at her place last year & she took me hiking in Boulder.  Joanie is a super great photographer & has been published & won awards.  She is also fun, a night-hiker, & super great to spend time with.

While waiting for her arrival, I sat in camp, with practically everyone else gone out playing, I noticed a little fox running through.  It went over to this giant trailer, grabbed something from underneath it, sat down & ate it.  The fox strolled off after about 10 minutes.

Joanie made it out, set up her tent then we both made dinner & started to catch up on our lives.  It eventually started to rain so we parked our SUVs back to back so we could still visit & not get wet.  

And, then another perfect CB rainbow!

Day 39 7.16
We left camp by 7am to try to find parking to hike Talies trail (thats what Ive named it) up to the 403.  Joanie brought her big heavy tripod with her & lugged it during the whole hike.  She stopped to take lots of photosthis trail has so many wildflowers with giant big mountain views in the background.

I dont know what these are, but they look like little tiny orchids.

And, we made it to the top with only a biker to join us.  Then we took the real trail back down to the road to loop the hike.  The sky really started to get black as we ended the hike just in time. 

We went to town on our way back for ice & water & I was able to pick up my new solar charger at the Post Office.  The afternoon was peaceful…we both made lunch, then Joanie took a nap (she gets up way before sunrise in the mornings so she can shoot the sunrise!) & I fiddled with my new charger.  Once I was done & she woke up, we decided it was Happy Hour!  Then we made dinner & chatted until it rained again.  It was a cold night!

Day 40 7.17
Joanie was up & out of camp super early this morning.  She is not afraid to drive these crazy backroads & she was headed up to Paradise Divide.  She took a wrong turn & drove down the road to Poverty Gulch (which she said was difficult in places), then turned around & drove up Paradise Divide (which she said had a huge hole in it & was white knuckle).  She took photos along the way, drove through Elko Park & up & over Schofield Pass & down the shelf road on Gothic. 

I stayed in camp all morning just enjoying the beginning of the day.  When she got back I asked her how the washouts were (I couldn’t believe she’d driven through them) past Emerald Lake.  She said the road was fine.  Ummm…

I took her hiking on the Meander trail & there was a lot to photograph.  She loved the Aspen forest so we hiked until the trail took a steep turn up the mountain.

I found one of my favorite flowers blooming!

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I really like this photo of herdoing what she loves!  

Joanie was driving today, so we went up Gothic Road.  Wow!  It had been graded!  I could have hugged the county maintenance workers for doing that!  No wonder she didnt have a problem driving this roadit was in perfect shape!  Now Id be able to hike  some of my favorite hikes with Danny.  I was super happy about this!

We went to the Brick, sat outside & had a yummy lunch & beer.  She did a little shopping for the Lapis mountain necklace they make here (I have one & so does Jill) & she was super happy with her purchase.  Joanie is like meshe doesn’t wear a ton of jewelry, but when you find something you really love, its worth the splurge.

It looked like it was going to rain again at camp, but we started Happy Hour as soon as we got back.  The evening was filled with laugh-out-loud conversations.just wonderful!  It was so good seeing her again.

Joanie has been photographing the comet every night, but I kept missing it.  Her photos are beautiful & Im glad she was able to see it during her time here.

Day 41 7.18
I made my coffee while Joanie packed up her camp & loaded up her car.  It had been so much fun to share time with her in the place we met! (She should have taken this photoshes all in shadow & it would have been so much better!)

After she headed back home, I drove out to Washington Gulch to find a new campsite.  My 14 days would be up here on Slate on Monday & Jill & Greg were coming tomorrow (Sunday).   Most campsites were filled (including my best places), but I found a spot across from the signboard & it would do fine.  I still had one end blocked from any other camper & I was hoping to score a better spot sometime before Danny got herestill a week away.  So, I set up camp & spent a long time reading a book Id picked up at the little free library in town.  I took a bottle bath & washed my hair, washed out my favorite pairs of shorts, then went to town for ice & water.

It was Happy Hour time at Bonez, so I got a table outside & Yum! Yum!

Instead of driving back out to Washington Gulch to my new campsite, I drove to the one on Slate River, where I still had my shredded screen tent & backpacking tent set up for Greg & Jill.  I worry way to much about this stuff, but I thought, being its Saturday night, their spot was more of a concern than mine.  I took advantage of the river water, filled my ‘sink’ & rinsed out my shorts, then just read more.  So, I spent the night out there, for my last night.

Day 42 7.19
I had planned to wake up early & head out to check my other campsite.but I got an early morning FT call from Claire!  She was up early & I think had gotten ahold of her Daddys iPad & called me.  I was thrilled (she might have gotten in a wee bit of trouble for doing that without asking so early, but I cant wait until she can call me whenever she wants to.I miss them sooooo much!)

She never minds that my hair is super messy & Im still tucked in.by the end of our conversation, she was sending zooming hugs & kisses on jets with hearts & would wait to see me catch them in the airit was a wonderful way to begin the day!

Then my service went bad & the call endedboo!

I took off & drove to campsite #2 seeing all kinds of wildlife along the way this early in the morning.

All was well at my campsite.  I wish I wasnt such a worrier with this stuffbut Saturday nights are prime time camping & Id also felt guilty about having two sites at the same time.  I can drive myself crazy!  But I knew Jill & Greg would probably have a difficult time finding a spot for her trailer on a Sunday nightthats how I rationalized it all anyway.

So, I hung out my wet clothes, finished my book, caught up with my sister-in-law on the phone (I have better service out here).  There was another afternoon storm.  Jill & Greg arrived & found their spot on Slate & set up camp.  They invited me out so I drove out to Slate to say hi & take down my two tentsnow the site was theirs & I only had one!

For some reason, I was exhausted & I didnt even hike todayjust lots of driving it seems.  Tomorrow, Im so ready to hit the trails again!

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