3. Back In My Happy Place…July/August.2016

day 7…7.21
Storms were predicted for late morning so I chose a new but short hike off Kebler Pass…called Lily Lake trail.  I arrived at the pullout & parked right behind another car where an 70+ couple was just getting out.  There were two other cars in the small lot…evidently hikers that had arrived earlier.  Right away they asked me if I was hiking to the lake & I said yes.  The man asked me if I had food in my car & when I said yes, they both shook their heads (in sort of a disgusted-I-know-something-you-don’t-know manner).  I asked why?  They said bears were known to break into cars in this area & all over CB.  I’d never heard of a bear breaking into a car at a trailhead in CB, but I knew it was possible.  I told them I was camping, so I had no choice but to carry my food with me…again….they shook their heads.  (Yes, it would be nice to own a HOUSE here so I could LEAVE MY FOOD IN IT, but hey, I don’t.)  This isn’t Yosemite!  They just stood there & looked at me.  I said, ‘well I guess I could  NOT hike this trail”….they started backpedaling & instead invited me to hike with them…because I’m sure they thought I was even more of an idiot because I’m hiking alone (which they had already asked me).  And EVERYONE knows it’s so horribly terribly dangerous to hike alone (it must be true right, because people hiking in couples or groups ALWAYS tell me how stupid it is).  I hiked with them for a few minutes, but then waved a sweet goodbye & headed up the trail.  I’m sure I was the subject of much of their discussion for the next few minutes, talking about what a stupid woman I am.  The day was overcast & soon I could hear booming over the mountains behind me.  I hike really fast when I feel threat of a storm.  The trail was on an old dirt road winding through the forest, then an open flower-filled meadow, another forest, then a really muddy part of the trail, then the meadow with the lake.




The booms were getting louder & I could feel sprinkles.  I hiked back the way I came, letting a little ‘negative-wonder’ take a walk through my mind…would I get back to find my car in shreds & my hummus gone?  Then I thought it was funny that I was more concerned that a bear would attack my car rather than myself.  The rain turned into way more than a sprinkle & tucked away my camera & zipped up my rain jacket.  It had been a short but fun little hike, but by the time I got back to my 4runner, it was raining pretty good & my pack was pretty wet.  Near the beginning of the trail, I caught up with everyone…the two couples who had left before me & the elderly couple.  I was super glad to find my 4runner just the way I’d left it…only wet!


Once I got back in town, a huge storm unleashed itself…rain, hail, winds…everything.  I grabbed my computer & went to the nice dry warm library to work on my website.  I was there about 30 minutes when a couple sat down next to & across from me.  Ummmm….they looked familiar.  I thought it was Anne & Mike Poe, authors of the very best Crested Butte hiking book that I’d met about 6 years ago on a trail.  A friend & her two daughters were here hiking with me & the Poe’s were writing their book.  On the trail they asked if they could take our photo & we might possibly be in the book.  Anne also asked me what kind of info I’d like to see in a hiking book…& I gave her my best suggestions. The following year the book was published & was fantastic…& I’m not biased in anyway just because our picture is in the book on the Rustler’s Gulch trail page.  I asked them if they were the Poes, & we talked about the day we’d run into each other, as well as other books they’ve written since & other travels they’ve taken.  It was fun.  They told me where they were camping & invited me for wine sometime.  Finally I was done with tripscribbles, so I packed up, said good bye to the Poes & ventured out into the rainy, chilly late afternoon & went to the Brick for another tasty beer.

day 8…7.22
I’d received an email earlier in the week from Steven; Jill’s brother-in-law.  He & his brother Max were coming to CB Thursday (yesterday) & asked for some recommendations on hiking.  I gave them a long list & offered up myself as a guide.  This morning, the sun was shining, the sky was blue & last night’s storm was gone.


I hadn’t heard from them, so I headed up Washington Gulch road to hike two I-Always-Do-These-Hikes hikes…the No Name trail & the top of the 403.  While I was filling my pack with water, Steven called.  They were ready to hike & would drive up the road to meet up for the 403 hike in a little while.  I was going to go ahead & head up the mountain in the meantime.  The No Name trail is 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile straight up the mountain…I made it up in 30 minutes & was on top…where there is no trail & meandered around taking in all the amazing fantastic views & the wonderful wildflowers.






Big views of Long Lake & Mt. Crested Butte….love, love, love this hike!



There was another couple that made it up the trail right before I was headed down.  We visited for awhile..they were from Denver.  She told me how she’d fallen in love with Crested Butte & then hounded her husband to finally buy a condo here & how much they loved it.  Wow…I don’t think ‘hounding’ would work with Danny, but I was happy to talk about the love of CB.  I made it back down to the car before the ‘brothers’ arrival & Luke called.  Loved being near the top of the mountain, getting to look at amazing views & talking to any of the kids…what a great morning!  Steven & Max arrived & we took off up the 403….WOWIE!!! The Wildflowers were fabulous!



We stopped at the memorial bench for a silly selfie...

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More hiking & we were at the pretty crowded viewpoint…the turn around point of the hike.  But guess who was up there?  The Poes!  I was greeted with big “Hi Vicki” & I really got a kick out of seeing them again.  The 5 of us visited a bunch, along with a few other people joining in the conversation.  Steven & Max were fun to hike with & met some other hikers at the viewpoint that they chatted with.




The hike down was easy & so beautiful looking at all the flowers.  They were up for another small hike…just a short one, so we drove out to Gothic road all the way to skinny part, then hiked up to Emerald Lake.


After hiking back to the car, we said good bye & made a plan for hiking tomorrow.  It was time for the afternoon storm, & as I drove off Gothic the skies were looking nasty!

The rains came & so did the hail, but I tucked into the Dogwood Cabin for a happy hour drink…my favorite…the Poco Loco.  It’s a fitting drink for me because it means “a little crazy”….but I like me that way!  When I made it back to camp, I was surprised it was dry as could be.  I had a neighbor in the only other campsite next to me. They were in an awesome looking truck camper….something I’ve recently become interested in learning more about.  I built a fire & enjoyed the evening…another awesome day in Paradise!

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Last night I was sleeping soundly & about midnight I heard a noise by my car.  I jolted up in time to see two cars in my camp & one was backing up & it looked like it was going to back up right into my 4runner.  I ungracefully lunged into the front seat & honked the horn…they stopped, pulled forward then backed up in between mine & my neighbors campsite.  The second car, just blatantly backed right up in the middle of my camp…then they took off.  It’s the dreaded Friday night late-comers looking for a campsite.

day 9…7.23
I had to buy ice this morning (war on cooler still going on) so even though the trailhead was just down from my campsite I had to make a trip in town. But, my reward was big…there were two foxes on the road.  One ran across but the other just walked up by my stopped car & sat down….the closest I’ve seen a fox.  We just stared at each other for a minute, then not wanting to delay it’s following of it’s partner, I slowly drove off.  Wow…I LOVE FOXES!

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They’d chosen the Oh-Be-Joyful trail & it was also on my list.  We would only go up into the meadows, but I can always come back if I want to hike it all (12 miles).  There are several really pretty waterfalls along this trail!



However, there weren’t any flowers!  Usually, this valley is filled with flowers, but not today.  The views are still wonderful & never get old.  We hiked to the view of the mountains & then turned around.

Here’s Steven shot of me on the trail….such a happy hiker!

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After crossing the river & getting back to our cars, we said good bye & each went our ways headed into town.  I went to Paradise for lunch, but before I even got seated they showed up & offered to buy my lunch.  So the three of us enjoyed a yummy lunch & more fun conversation.  Our next meet up would be on Monday for another hike.  I’d already made plans for tomorrow.  I took off to the Brick for a beer, then back to camp.  As I drove in my neighbor waved…she was playing a banjo.  After I parked, I walked over & told her I’d hoped the middle of the night car horn didn’t wake them up…& she said it hadn’t.  We started visiting & it was great.  They invited me to dinner (I declined…still full from a whole lunch) & then later for a drink & to sit by they’re fire (accepted the later).    They have been on the road full time for 2.5 years.  It was a wonderful evening & I enjoyed every bit of the conversation!

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