4. Summer in the Mountains of Colorado…June, July, & August, 2022

Day 22 7.13
Sometimes Ill open my side door, (the one I sleep next to) at night.  I can see the sky out my window, but have a better view with the whole door open, I can feel the mountain cooled air & almost always, hear lots of birds.  I wake up early as the sky begins to light.  This morning, I grabbed my phone & snapped this pre-sunrise photo of Mt. Crested Butte.

Danny & I drove up the road this morning to hike the 403…a trail we do every year together.  I’d found another spur trail off the main one earlier this year, & he happily agreed to explore it with me.  The trail went less than a mile before it petered out, but we got to see some views wed never seen before.

The wildflowers are still out everywhere along this beautiful trail.

So many Columbines nestled in the rocks at the viewpoint.

At the Memorial Bench.

We stopped back by camp for lunch…more quesadillas.  Then it began to storm so we sat in the castle & both read for awhile.  When it sounded like the storm had stopped, I stepped out to see this unusual lighting on the mountains near Gothic.

We made a ice/water run, then went up to the ski resort for Wednesday night Mountain Music.

Day 23 7.14
Last night we discussed going to one of our fave places to eat this morningParadise Cafe.  They make wonderful breakfast.  I always hate to wake up Danny whenever he’s on vacation…he’s one sleep deprived guy.  But, I did, so we could get there right when they opened.  Like everywhere, lines are long & so are cook times.  This place is super popular.  But, when we arrived, there was a note on the door saying they were closed.  BUMMER.  We went to Camp 4 Coffee & got a cup which was just ok & a pastry that wasn’t good at all.  We couldn’t decide what to hike but finally landed on a hike I’d done once & Danny had never done.  There are two Green Lake hikes in the area…one is out near Irwin & has been held hostage by a crazy threatening screaming guy that lives out there & scares everyone away from walking the PUBLIC road.  It’s been an ongoing fight between the Forest Service & him for years.  I’m glad I was able to hike it a couple of times before all the drama started.  

But, the OTHER Green Lake is close to town.  The only other time I hiked it, I happen to be in a very foul mood & said I’d never hike it again.  But, I’m into giving hikes second chances & Danny was up for something new.  So, we found the trailhead & began the long, long, long hike uphill.

The hike is mostly in the forest & we are so spoiled by hikes here with big views…this is not one of those hikes.  We finally made it the 4.6 miles uphill to the lake.

Green Lake is pretty, but it won’t be on my list of top 30 hikes in CB.  

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As we got to the lake, there were three people sitting there next to the lake.  One of the guys was loud & going on & on about how to fix the restaurant problems here in CB.  Danny & I wanted to get away from the noise so we walked awas as far as we could to one side of the lake.  We could still here the guy, but not so loudly.  We ended up not staying too long, because I had accidentally left our lunch in the 4Runner.  But, we enjoyed the quiet for a little while as the three other left the lake.

But, when we walked by the spot they’d been sitting on, I found a smartwatch on the ground.  It had to belong to one of the guys…he must have been sitting on it.  It’s always a dilemma when you find something out on the trail like this.  I decided to take it & turn it in to the Marshalls office.  I figured the owner could track it there.  If I’d left it, the watch would surely get rained on later this afternoon.  I stuck it on the sternum strap of my pack, in case anyone coming back for it could clearly see it.  

We hiked & hiked & hiked back through the trees, but thankfully downhill all the way.  There’s a section of the trail, that crosses a private road that has gazillion dollar homes scattered along it.  We’d seen a car parked on a pullout on that road, & was guessing it was those three.  Somehow, they didn’t seem the type to hike the whole trail (my prejudice…all that hot air that was being expended up at the lake should have been gone if they’d hiked the whole way up.  And, whoever parked there, ignored the threatening signs about being towed if you left your vehicle there).

Just as we got to the road, we saw the car driving towards us with the three inside.  I waved them down, pulled out the watch & asked if it belonged to one of them.  ‘Oh that’s mine” one guy said.  "I didn’t even know I’d lost it…thanks” And with that, they took off up the road.  He didn’t seem that grateful.  I was just glad I didn’t have to take the time to go to the Marshalls office.  I’m not sure the guy would have gone back for it, when he discovered gone….so I’m also glad there’s no ‘litter’ left at the lake too.

After our hike, we went to Momo’s for lunch, sat out on the bench & ate our yummy food.  I’d been hearing a squeak in the 4Runner & thought it was just dust somewhere because most of the roads I drive everyday are dirt.  Danny wanted to wash the 4Runner (WOW…this only happens a couple of times a year) just to be sure.  

CB has a new project around town this year called Wheels of Intention. There are 8 prayer wheels, designed by local artists, scattered around town.  So, while Danny went to wash the car, I found all 8 of them.  And, I’ve met 4 of the artists!

Left: an homage to the Red Ladys of Crested Butte                              Right: My friend, Kate Seeley & her creatures.

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                                                                                                              Right:  Heather Bischoff who I met at Talie’s house last week.

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Left:  Adam Freed, one of my favorite artists in CB.  Right:  John Bukaty, a performance artist, originally from Kansas City, who I met once at the Last Steep bar.

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Then reunited, Danny & I went to Bonez for the not-Happy Hour but still enjoyed the best margarita in CB & queso dip. Then we went back out to camp, watched another storm blow in then out, shared a beer & said good night to another awesome day in Paradise!

Day 24 7.15
We were trying for breakfast out again this morning & this time they were open.  We didnt make it right when they opened, so we had a long wait while everyone who did make it there at 7 waited for their breakfast.  Everyone seem to leave at once, then we were seated & it was good.  

Jill & Greg were coming sometime this afternoon in their airstream.  Theyd already been in Colorado for a few days but we told them we had a big enough campsite if they wanted to come to Crested Butte.  So, we did a trail I love, but its not particularly hard or long, but I love the views & it would get us back in town by the time they arrived.  Its begins at the Cliff Creek trailhead out on Kebler Pass & goes up & a bit beyond Beckwith Pass.  The wildflowers were still plentiful & beautiful.

Views of Mt. Owen & Mt. Ruby & Mr. Hill.

If you go just beyond the pass, through the cattle gate & hike to a huge big rock, you can see the Castles over on Ohio Pass Road.

Love the colors of the new growth on these trees.

After our hike, we went back to camp to move our tents,  While I had the biggest space up on the ridge, we still had two big tents up, Dannys truck, my 4Runner, their big truck & a big airstream.  So, we unstaked the tents & moved them as far over as we could to the end of our site.  On their drive over, they ran into a storm, so they decided to detour south to avoid the pass.  While we waited, it also stormed here, so we enjoyed our time in the castle & shared a beer.

They got here in the evening, & parked their rig.  It was chilly out & everything was wet as the rain continued to lightly fall.  They invited us to sit in their trailer & we visited the whole evening….missing the campfire I’d planned, but no one really wanted to be out in the cold night air.

Day 25 7.16
Jill & Greg made breakfast in their camper & we made coffee & ours outsideit was a beautiful morning.  Id wanted to take Danny to Stupid Falls before he left & he was leaving this afternoon.  I invited Jill & Greg to come too.theyd never seen them.  Its a bit of a crazy rough road to get there, but its just a short walk from the parking area to the falls.  Kayakers go over these falls in early spring with they are super full from snow melt.

Jill & Greg on the walk down to Stupid Falls.

After the falls, Danny & I wanted to hike one more hike before he left.  Jill wanted to drive the valley roads & see & shop downtown.    So Danny said his good byes to Jill & Greg, & we drove down to Brush Creek road & hiked the Whetstone Vista hike & looped back down to the road.

After our hike, we grabbed a burger at SLAP burger in town.  He needed to eat before his long drive back to Kansas.  

As Danny & walked back from lunch, we noticed a new sign on the former Brick Oven.  The new owner, who now owns quite a few buildings in town, won’t discuss his plans with anyone.  This sign is appropriate but so sad.

Then we went back out to camp & swapped what he was taking & what he was leaving, made a thermos of coffee for him & about 5pm, we said good bye.  We both wished he was staying.  But, we’re also both stoked he’ll be back out here with me in a couple of weeks!

After he left, I made a cocktail & sat in camp & read.  Jill & Greg went out to dinner in town then came back out to camp.  I built my first campfire in a couple of years & we sat around it & visited.  This was just a stopover trip for them, they’d be leaving early in the morning.

Day 26 7.17
I knew Jill & Greg were planning on leaving around 7am so I got up at 6:15.  Id need to move my tents so they could pull out.  We had a couple of vehicles park across from us in the middle of the night, but even it they werent there, Id still need to move both tents & the 4Runner so they could pull forward, which was their plan.  

They were up early making their breakfast & securing their stuff inside the camper.  Just around 7 they came out, ready to go.  We said goodbye & they were on their way in a few minutes.

After they  left, I moved my tents back & staked them down.  I finally made myself coffee & sat down to enjoy the morning.

Its the weekend, & Ive been trying not to hike the most popular hikes to avoid lots of people.  Theres a road I tried to drive last year called Splains Gulch, so I thought Id walk it this year.  Its off Kebler Pass road, so once I was done in camp, I left for the hike.

The road was in much better shape & I could have driven it.  Theres really no parking up there however; just a few campsites, but I dont want to park in someone else’s site.  

Love these miniature orchid-look alike.

Lily Lake.

Took a little side trail towards the lake & saw this plant.  Thought of my friend Talie…this is one of her favorites & I think it’s called Elephant plant.

Back at camp, I took a shower outside in the warm sunshine….I needed one.  I ate lunch, then spent the day reading & hiding in the screen tent from the so-annoying biting flies.  Thank goodness, about 7pm the flies left when a gentle breeze started to blow & I was able to just sit outside….no screen required.

Beautiful alpenglow tonight!

Day 27 7.18
I left camp super early, driving in my sleeping clothes over to Slate River road to possibly find a new campspot.  Although, I really wasnt looking forward to moving the tents again.  It was busy over there & the site I really wanted (I know, Im kind of picky) was occupied with a huge RV that didnt look like it was going anywhere soon.  I drove up the road to a big parking area, pulled out my stove & made coffee, changed my clothes & did my morning thingwash face, brush teethyou get it.  

Then it was time to hike.  I was doing the 401 todayone of my most favorite trails.  The forecast was great to do a big high exposed hike & Id hoped since it was a Monday, not too many bikers would be on the trail.

Okget ready for picture overload! 

The trail switchbacks up through three Aspen forests, then hugs the middle of that mountain in the photo all the way to the other side of it.

The flowers line the trails, the mountains line the sky.its amazing!

The views are just breathtaking at the top!

You can hike this trail as a loop & road walk back, but I love to just turn around & hike the same way I’d come up.  Look at this scenery going back!

Such a happy hiker!  I love this hike so much !  I cleaned up in the river crossing as best I could…dousing my hair daily in river or lake water seems to be a theme.  I drove straight to the laundromat & washed a load, then to Pitas in Paradise for some home made hummus.

I stayed in town for the concertReckless Kelly was tonights band.  It was a nice night & a ton of people were at the concert.  I stayed for about 1/2 of it.I dont listen to a lot of country music, I was tired & still had damp clothes in the 4Runner to dry & put away.

I took some time back at camp to clean up the clothes, clean up the 4Runner then made myself a cocktail as another big storm blew in.

This may be one of the best & craziest photos Ive ever taken.  I was laying in camper reading & watching the storm, when I saw lightening flash above Mt. Crested Butte.  I opened my door & took a couple of shots with my phone.  I had no idea Id actually caught the lightening strike until I looked at the photo.  This one will definitely be blown up & added to the living room wall!

Day 28 7.19
I was up early & driving out to Gothic road. It was like being part of a train at 7:15am.  I was the middle car of 6 heading over the narrow road near where the snowplug had been. Some cars stopped at Scofield pass to bike the 401, some went on to West Maroon trailhead…the most popular hike in Crested Butte as you can take it all the way to Aspen.  I drove on down the road to the North Pole Basin trail.  Part of this trail is on private land owned by RMBL & has just opened to the public a few years ago.  Today, I was the sole hiker in this amazing basin!

You hike a mile long road before you get to the trail, but then its eye candy all the way!

There are several waterfalls along this hike & it seemed to me this year, the trail was wetter than its ever been.  Thats good for this place!

Lots of Indian Paintbrush.

Just tons & tons of wildflowers out here!

This view always ends up being my favorite photo from this hike!

Danny usually hikes this trail with me & there’s a section near the top, where the trail gets faint & you just have to go straight up the mountain.  I decided not to hike that part by myself…it’s my least favorite part of this trail.  But, I did spot a place I want us to explore when he comes back out!  I’m super excited about that!

At my turnaround point, I was happy to be hiking downhill, where the views are just as lovely as they are going up! I washed in the river crossing close to the 4Runner & sort of dreaded the drive back, hoping I’d meet no other cars on the skinny drop off part.  I got lucky & in the places where I met two cars, I was able to get over.  Then no one coming up on the crazy part!  Yay!  But, there’s more hiking I want to do out there, so I’ll have to drive this road at least a couple more times.

The West Maroon trailhead on top; my trailhead on bottom.  These two trailheads are just down the road from each other.

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Does anyone know what kind of print this is?  This was in the mud near one of the waterfalls.

I went to Momos for lunch then finally began to work on Tripscribbles.I was so far behind.  Ive had so much trouble with the now unsupported program & my hosting service for the past few months or maybe even the last year.  I need to rebuild it, but Im not looking forward to doing that for the 3rd or 4th time!  But, I love having a history of my travelsmostly photographs, but its not anything I want to loose & I do love writing as well.  So, I wrote & resized photographs & ran into more problems, until I finally got a couple of weeks done.  I went back out to camp, took a break to read & make one of my yummy camp cocktails.

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