4. Colorado in Summer…7.2017

day 13…7.12 
I wanted to show Jill Lizard Head Pass which is the opposite way to Telluride by about 10 miles.  Also, I'm enchanted with the tiny quirky town of Ophir so we drove through there.




We got back into Telluride & decided to hike Bear Creek Falls, one of Tellurides’ most popular hikes.  Jill was now at a much higher elevation & she was feeling it.  But, she persevered & made it up to the falls!

By the time we got to the rock cairns, she was ready to build her own!


This trail is all up (doesn’t it seem like they all are?) We passed the Big Rock & had one more uphill to go.


Then we were at the falls!



We weren’t the only ones there, but the most notable was the ‘professional’ photographer & her client.  They were probably doing grad photos or something similar.  I’ve run into this scene before & I think it’s kind of funny.  The young girl was in something black & see thru…more like you’d find in a bedroom than on a trail.  There was a fancy big bag along the trail with all kinds of make up & hair stuff (OK…you’re at the falls…there is mist all around…you get kind of damp!).  The thing most crazy about this scene, is that the photographers want to hog all the best photographic places…for a long long time because they have to shoot 12,000 shots of their porn-dressed, posed, slightly damp client.  It’s really a people watching moment.  But I was lucky enough to catch this outdoor beauty in one snap of the camera!


We hiked back down, both feeling good.  We shopped a little more.  Then I wanted to check out Bridal Veil falls at the end of town one more time before we left Telluride.

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Driving back to Ridgeway from Telluride is just gorgeous!

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Now it was time to find camp.  We stopped at Ridgeway State Park for their pay campground, but I thought it was a ridiculous amount when you were going to be right next to an RV & not much view of the lake.  But the nice guy at the kiosk asked if I’d rather have dispersed camping?  You BetCha!  So, he told me about Billy Creek State Wildlife area about 10 miles north…just the direction we would be heading the next day. And it was perfect!  We could see those snow capped mountains wed just left from our campsite.  We had the whole place to ourselves & it was a beautiful, wonderful night.

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Theres a story ‘behind’ this last pic…but you’ll have to ask Jill about that someday!

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PS:  My mechanic had gotten back with Danny a day ago & suggested we not buy the 4Runner.  That was good enough for me. This has been a hard financial year for us & I was concerned about that & also the fact I didn’t want to muck up Danny’s one week of vacation with me in our special place with trying to figure out how to retrieve a car all the way across the state.  I sent a text off to the nice owner in Durango & told him I wasn’t going to buy it, that I’d bet it would sell quick, thanks anyway, & enjoy life in this beautiful state.  I was done with that!

day 14…7.13 
We were only a little ways from Montrosea town filled with every chain & big box store out there.  We ran a couple of errands including stopping at Starbucks so I could FT with Claire (YAY!!!)  I suggested instead of hiking today we try renting a kayak at Blue Mesa Reservoir…& we had a blast! (even while wearing our dorky life jackets).

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Wed rented the kayaks for 1/2 a day, but about 2 hours into our paddle, the skies on two different sides of us were growing dark.  It was my time to be nervous, & I suggested we paddle back nearer the dock.  A little while later it began to sprinkle, so we turned in our kayaks & paddles.  We think weve started a new tradition adding kayaking to our travels (next add is horseback riding!)

We then drove into Gunnison ….now feeling much nearer to “Home” for me & I was anxious to get up to CB.  We would be parting ways here for a couple of days as Jill was off to Denver to pick up Greg on Saturday so he could spend a week with her in Crested Butte.  She’d rented a little house for them…no room for him in her car!  So we did our ‘usual’ thing we do in Gunnison…went to the used clothing stores, the kids store, & Treads & Threads & a couple of gear shops.  We ate at the new High Alpine brewery & it was wonderful food!  We both had the Goat Cheese & Beet Salad…the beer was ok, but Jill really liked her cider.

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After we were through with Gunnison, we bought some firewood & headed out to Hartman Rocks where we’ve camped before among the strange rock formations.  The sky was getting dark & stormy so we picked a place quickly.  Some stupid careless campers had left the fire pit filled with super disgusting trash.  We filled up most of bag of non-burnable garbage.  

The wind had picked up so we went to our ‘campers’ but parked them so we could still visit & laugh with each other!

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Later I built a fire & burned all the trash that had been left there.  This is one of my big pet peeves about stupid/rude campers.  I believe 99% of most people camping KNOW BETTER…they would not leave this trash/garbage in their yards, but they will leave it in the wilderness.  The outdoor mantra of “Leave No Trace’ isn’t that difficult to understand…just pick up after yourself!

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day 15…7.14
Jill knew I was aching to get to CB.  I suggested she drive the extra miles & we spend a good part of the day there together, doing what we usually do on our first day there.  Eat at our fav breakfast spot, shop the town & see what’s new.  She said YES! right away & we headed north.  Even my new 4Runner knew she was headed to a special place & my little heart was pitter-pattering all the way there…I was getting close to paradise!

We drove straight to Paradise Cafe.  Jill said she could hear through the restroom wall as I was greeted by a friend of mine with a giant hug & a “YOU’RE BACK!”  This makes me feel so great & so at home here!  We ate a scrumptious breakfast then drove out to see if I’d be lucky enough to score my favorite campsite on an early Friday morning.  And it was there, waiting for me.  I sat out a chair for Jill & quickly put up the tent.  It still crazy on the weekends around here so I was pulling out all the stops to mark my spot.

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We spent the rest of the day in town.  I found a pair of Blundstone Boots I’ve wanted for about three years & broke down & bought them.  Jill bought a pair too.  I had a couple of more great “You’re Back” encounters as the day went on!  We had a late lunch at the Ginger Cafe where Jill moaned & groaned over the tasty Salmon Spring Rolls.  Then it began to rain.  We hugged good bye & she made her way south, across the pass on towards Denver & I went out to my little happy place in the mountains.  My plethora of deer are across the river & I even saw a Doe with twins!  


I settled in for the night…soooooo very very happy to be back.  Have I mentioned how much I love this place?

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There was one camper in the other site at the far end of my space.  But as the weekend began, the space in between us (which is NOT a third camping spot) began to fill.  A big group from Boulder came & set up camp in the space between.  I got up about midnight, shined a flashlight out into the latest addition, & asked if they would make sure I could get my car out the next morning, since they were setting up on both sides of the area.  

day 16…7.15
I counted this morning…there were 3 cars, a Sprinter Van, 4 tents, 8 people & two loose dogs.  One tent was set up 3’ from mine (it’s good I don’t sleep in mine).  I just took a deep breath figuring they would only be here for the weekend& went on with my day.  The guy that was there first with the camper, had come in late late last night.  He seemed to take one look at the mass of humanity this morning, loaded up & took off.

One of my favorite trails is the 401a well known mountain bike trail.  I figured with so many people in town, this would be my first hike, since its way more bikers than hikers.  This year not as many are biking it since the road is still snow covered & the only way up to the top of the trail is to ride up on the trail, or ride up the road & go over the snowplug.  It was a glorious hike!  I only passed a couple of other hikers as I was almost finished.  A dozen or so mountain bikers passed me, but as I’ve stated before, mountain bikers are the toughest but happiest & usually the nicest athletes around!






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After my hike I went to the Brick…home of great beer….30 taps!  I had a Boomsauce IPA that was super yummy!  Then I headed back to camp to find everyone was out for the day…even the dogs!

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I took advantage of the peace & quiet.  Soon they’d return.  I don’t begrudge them having a great time…we’re all out here on public Forest Service land…it’s just that it was a little too cozy.  One of the women came over after dark & introduced herself & said to let her know if they were too loud.  She realized I was a solo traveler & said she was interested in doing that herself.  So she stayed & visited awhile with me.

Later that night, I just felt so grateful to be here one more time. The coziness of the other campers, the dogs running through my camp, the noise…none of that mattered.  I was here…& that’s what was important!

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