Back In My Happy Place…July/August.2016

It’s been a fantastic week…Luke & his friend Matt popped in town last Wednesday & stayed through early Saturday, as they’ve been traveling around the country visiting various casinos.  We had a super good visit with them!  Danny & I left bright & early on Saturday morning for the airport arriving in Orlando mid morning & so very very anxious to see Claire, Sara & Kevin.  It was so much fun…Claire is so great to be with!  We left there on Tuesday night (one of us had mega-tears) & arrived back at the house a little before midnight.  Not having put all my gear away from my last big road trip a three weeks ago, I was more than ready to re-organize it & pack it back in the car.  I left around 6:15am on Thursday morning, excited to be heading back to Colorado to hike hike hike & hike among the wildflowers!

There are a couple of different ways to drive into Crested Butte & this trip I went up to Buena Vista & over Cottonwood Pass & around Taylor Reservoir then up the highway to CB.  As I came off the pass, there was a moose right by a small pond near the road!

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Camping is very crowded…it’s been crazy the last two years.  But I found a spot…a rather dusty one because it’s near a 4WD road, but it’s got good views of the mountains & hardly any people.  It’s way farther down the road, but worth it.  

day 1…7.15
My first hike for the last several years here has been up Scarp Ridge.  It’s about 1.5 miles with 1,350’ elevation gain…you end up on top at 12,000’…a real lung buster & it gets me everytime.  But this time, in full disclosure, I thought I was beat.  As you climb & stop over & over to just catch your breath the views are spectacular.  But as I got about 1/2 way up, I started to feel sick…I was clammy all over, light headed & thought I was going to throw up.  Uh-Oh…this has only happened once & it was different…that time it was heat.  

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I found a rock, sat down, drank more & more water & ate 1/2 a protein bar.  I usually don’t eat much in the mornings…just a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter & I’d had one this morning.  I hadn’t eaten dinner last night, but had a full sandwich for lunch & no alcohol…just water all night.  I wasn’t sure what the problem was, but I didn’t like it.  I sat for about 15 or 20 minutes & started to feel better…promising myself I’d try to push through this, but if it happened again, I would go down.  Maybe it was being at such low elevation over the weekend, & then only being here about 15 hours before I started my climb?  I don’t know what the problem was…I JUST WANTED IT GO AWAY!  For me, the second part of this hike is a little easier than the first…so I pushed on.  I didn’t feel so great as I stepped back onto the trail for my first 50 or so steps. A couple that had passed me as I sat on the rock & now one of them turned around to head back down…she passed me saying she couldn’t hike up the rest of the way.  I SO DID NOT WANT THIS TO BE ME, but I also wanted to do the right thing for my body.  I kept climbing & was feeling no worse & maybe a little better.  I was so HAPPY TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP!  I’ve done this hike at least a dozen times & love it every single time I’m at the top looking over these magnificent mountains.  

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The wildflowers were blooming & spectacular!  I visited with the guy left from the couple for a few minutes, then he headed back down.  I was up here all by myself & loving it!

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Going down was a piece of cake & I felt wonderful.  I’m not good at pushing myself about much in life, but hiking is so much a part of me…well, anyway, I’m very grateful & thankful my body chose to get my big butt up this mountain today!

I drove into town & grabbed lunch at Momo’s but then had one more bout of nausea as I started to eat.  I took my food outside & sat on one of the benches & watched the hordes of people walking, driving & biking downtown.  I ate slowly, made a couple of phone calls & then one of my CB friends walked over & sat & we visited for awhile & caught up on the summer happenings of this wonderful little town.  By the time all that was done, I was feeling back to normal so I went to the Brick for a beer.  I had a Prairie Artisan Birthday Bomb…a 13% Imperial Stout…& yes I was feeling good after that…seriously, it was mostly visiting with the bartenders who said “welcome back Vicki” that makes my little heart just soar!

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I went out to camp & it was still early in the evening…the road was hopping but I drove to my little dusty campsite & sat in my sunshade to keep the nasty biting flies away…& that was great!  Not a fly crept in, I finished my ebook that was going to disappear off my Kindle tomorrow, drank lots of water & then tucked into my 4Runner for the night…starting another book.  The monsoon season hasn’t started yet….things are really dry.  The night skies are crystal clear & the stars are fantastic.  I love it here!

day 2…7.16
I was being a little cautious today so decided to do an easy hike.  There’s a super popular hike close to town called the Lower Loop which has a couple of other trails link to it.  I started at Gunsight Pass road trailhead & hiked up the road to the Upper Lower Loop trail & headed out.  There is a lot of ‘stuff’ laying around the sides of the trail & on the mountain reminding you that this was once a mining area. This trail intersects with the Budd trail, taking you a little higher up on the side of the mountain, so I took that.  This is mostly a mountain bike trail & there were a few bikers on the trail, but not as many as I’d anticipated.

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In spite of all the mining stuff, the trail has beautiful views of the Slate River & Mt. Crested Butte.

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The trail meanders lower & meets up with the Lower Loop which goes next to the river & then back to the trailhead.  I wanted to get a few miles in, but not too much elevation.  After revisiting what happened yesterday on the trail, I don’t think it was an altitude problem, but more like a low blood sugar.  I’d eaten breakfast out this morning at my fav Paradise Cafe…so having enough to eat wasn’t going to be a problem.  I spent the beautiful afternoon in town & then had a beer from the Brick.  As evening started to fall, I texted my friend Talie to see if she was up for a short hike up to Long Lake & she was!  My heart just sang when I saw her & she gave me a big hug & said “Welcome Home!”   (Awwww!)  Talie is another solo traveler, but has so much more experience around the world including long distance backpacking.  She is an amazing woman & I couldn’t wait to walk & talk & hear more about her adventures!

She has family in town, so I know I won’t be seeing her the rest of the week, but I really enjoyed our hike & visit together.  I headed back to camp & enjoyed a wonderful evening with mesmerizing night sky!

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day 3…7.17
Today I was hiking more elevation but not so many miles.  The trail starts out on Kebler Pass…super steep & the hike continues up an old jeep road…up, up & up!  It’s only a couple of miles, & the views are hemmed in by the forest, but the lake is so awesome!  I passed a group of 5 women just coming down the trail, but when I arrived at Copley Lake I had it all to myself!

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I stopped by the Dogwood Cabin for a drink before heading out to camp & enjoyed the conversation playing around the bar & my favorite martini…the Poco Loco…pineapple & habanero.  Dillion, one of the bartenders, always has some extra special drinks for me to try & tonight was one of his own invention….rum, berries & ginger…yum!  After, I headed back out to camp…the full moon is almost here!

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