5. My perfect place…Crested Butte 7.2011

Thursday 7.14....I woke up to beautiful, clear blue skies this morning.  I was trying to decide on which hike to do off Gothic Road...I opted to drive up to where the road is closed, hike over the snowfield, & up to Schofield Pass--trying to get to West Maroon Trailhead.  There had been a large group of hikers in front of me, but after the pass, the road forks & they took the “Paradise Divide” road...I continued on to the trailhead

Schofield Park, where the trail begins, is really pretty...but I couldn’t believe I saw no one; not one other person...& this is the first time I’ve ever seen the parking lot totally empty (of course, no cars, ATV’s or anything can get through).  I started on the trail, which is through a heavy forested area...& couldn’t keep track of the trail.  There is still so much snow here, huge piles that cover the trail.  If you’ve got two people, one can stay on the trail, while the other scouts...but since I was the only one here...I turned around & hiked back up the road

still lots of snow on the road

I hiked back up the road, to another trail...the 401, which one end starts in the woods...so even though I tried to keep track of the trail, there was more snow here than on the other trail.  Some of the piles were as tall as me!

I decided to hike back to my car, passing, once again, Emerald Lake.  Still tons of snow surround the lake...you can where it’s beginning to break apart....it’s so weird..kind of “blue” inside

I went back over the snowfield & down the damaged & still-closed road to my car....ready for Plan B (or I guess it’s really Plan C now)

I drove back to Rustler’s Gulch...where you can also pick up the 401.  I was a little anxious about the water crossing, but it looked worse than it was...& then I started hiking...it’s all uphill...about 4.5 miles to the top

the trail winds up through aspen forests then into the open & keeps up this pattern until you reach totally wide open trail....& then you get the big views

I’ve hiked this trail almost every year I’ve come here.  The wildflowers are just beginning to bloom...but in a couple of weeks, the trail will be lined from foot to head with these beauties

the view from the trail looking back into the valley

once at the top...this is your  view....magnificent!

hiking up the trail, I crossed three snowfields...I didn’t look forward to hiking back across two of them; this one had water running under it (see the hole in the middle? you could see/hear water running below it) & that’s not a good thing to be hiking on top of

one final pic of the day.  By this time, I’d hiked about 13 miles & I was tired...the stream crossings freezing cold water felt good on my feet!

Next up for the day?  a shower...a week is about as long as I can go, & I couldn’t wait to feel all that warm water & SOAP...so I headed to the Hostel to buy a nice long shower...it felt really good.

Laura joined me for dinner at the Steep & we had a great visit & planned our hike for tomorrow.

I’m off to bed...I’m beat

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