5. Summer in Colorado…June/July, 2021

Day 29 7.19
We got up early & drove up Kebler to do one of our favorite hikesScarp Ridge.  Even though I climbed this a couple of weeks ago, I never get tired of the views!  And I love to do this hike with Danny!

Hes so happy to be here! (Believe it or not, I have service at the top!  So I usually FaceTime him from here.  This is a gazillion times better!)

We love love love hiking this ridge together!

Looking over towards Green Lake & Mt. Owen & Mt. Ruby.

Looking down on top of Blue Lake.

Danny takes in everything.  We have an adventurous history with Peeler base; the one he’s looking down into.

After our loop hike, we went out for a pizza at the Secret Stash & walked around town a bit; bought more ice.  Then we spent a nice evening in camp sharing a beer & I worked on my website while he read.

Day 30 7.20
I actually cooked in camp this morningbreakfast burritos with eggs, cheese, bacon bits & salsa all rolled in a warm tortilla. I love long mornings in camp, but doubt Ill ever enjoy cooking in camp.  We drove up the road to hike the 403…another hike we do annually & mostly I do it at least twice.  The flowers were gorgeous, the sky was clear today so the views of the mountains are spectacular.

Wildflowers were out of control!

Looking down on the Memorial Bench & seeing the view you see from it.

It’s not like I think there should be one of these by every trail, but I think this is the coolest way to ‘memorialize’ someone.  Thousands of people have sat on this bench & enjoyed the magnificent view.

And we’ve done it everytime we’ve hiked this trail.

The inscription on the bench.

More views from the top.

Looking over to Gothic mountain…it’s just massive and breathtaking!

At the top of the 403!

I’ve never seen this corn lily or skunk cabbage bloom before.  It has a really cool story behind when it decides to bloom or not, but this year they were blooming all over!  So cool!

This is the close up of all the hundreds of tiny blooms on one plant.

This is long zoomed shot way way way across two valleys to Daisy Pass.  Its the small notch just to the right of the big mountain.  I took one long look at it—so grateful the fall I took over there didn’t seem to do any long term damage.  I still have some swelling in my ankle & bought a soft brace for it that I’m wearing, but very lucky to escape with no serious injury.  But, doubt I’ll ever take in that view of Daisy again, without reliving the fall.

Since camp was right down the road, we went back & ate lunch there.  We had a couple of hours to kill before a meet up we had scheduled & I wanted to go waterfall-hunting with Danny.  When I got my campsite at Washington Gulch a couple of weeks ago, the young couple that was packing up leaving it, told me they’d gone to a ‘secret’ waterfall.  They sort of explained where it was & ever since I was bound & determined to find it.  I’d asked Greta about it & she’d never been there, but called it Stupid Waterfall.  So, with our extra time today, we drove to find it.  And, it’s like a 10 minute walk from a parking spot off a little bit of a crazy road.  

OMG!  I went nuts!  It’s amazing!  And so close to another trailhead that I’d already hiked this year.  How did I never know about this before?  We hiked all the way down to the river & Danny decided it was a good time to clean up a bit too.

Then we headed to town to meet Rick, his wife Susan, & Greta at the Brick for a beer.  A couple of fast hours later & such good conversation, we said good bye..I wouldn’t be seeing them again this summer.  We'd also had a nice long visit with Dan, one of the owners.  Then it started to downpour!  We were parked down at the Visitors Center, so we got drenched walking back.

We went back to camp to dry off, the rain quit & we got to sit outside before turning in for the night.

Day 31 7.21
We drove back out Gothic road to hike the 401 todayso many amazing views.  The trail switchbacks up through three Aspen forests, then crosses the side of the mountain.  Its one of the best mountain bike rides anywhere (or so Im told; Id die if I tried it!)

Today was crazy busy with bikers, but its a great hike!

Sometimes, when I’ve timed this hike just right, the Fireweed just lines the trail along the whole side of the mountain.  It’s a spectacular site.  But, I’m just a little too early this year.  It’s starting to bloom though.

At the top!

After seeing about 60 mountain bikers on the trail, we decided to hike down through the forest, by the lake & walk the road back.  When it’s that busy, the hike going back the way we’d come up, would be treacherous & we’d be looking over our shoulders the whole time.  

Emerald Lake….always so beautiful!

The flowers blooming down by the lake.

That big red mountain is Avery.someday Im going to hike to the top!

Yum!  We went to Bonez for Happy Hour & an early dinner.  Then back to camp, where it was raining again.  We shared a beer in the Castle living room & discussed a trip to California to see Luke, Peter & Leia.  We’re excited to see Pete’s new house & I love California.  So, we dived right in & booked Danny a round trip ticked from KC to Arcata in late August.  I’m excited about it!  We were both extra tired, so we turned in early.

Day 32 7.22
Today we hiked Rustlers Gulch.not too many words neededIt was just amazing!

This is the tallest Monument plant I’ve ever seen!

The skies grew dark all around us & extra-cautious me suggested we turn around.  I don’t think Danny has ever once been the one to request a turn around… He’s super brave & not afraid of anything. But, we turned around because I’m not like Danny.

We both thought Tracy was working today, so we went to the Brick to catch her one last time before we left.  But, we were wrong; today wasnt her shift.  But, we still drank a beer & ate & had the most wonderful long conversation with Dan, one of the owners & chatted for a bit with Brian, the other owner.  Turned out to be so much fun!

We went back to camp & it poured & poured hard rain…it’s monsoon season in case I hadn’t mentioned it.  Thank goodness for the Castle where we can just sit & enjoy conversation together & stay dry.  Of course, we also enjoyed another one of our favorite special beers Danny brought out with him!

Day 33 7.23
I cooked breakfast in camp again this morning & we had a great time just taking it slow, drinking coffee & loving our camp views.  Then we drove to to town & bought ice, water & shared some ice cream from Third Bowl.  

We were meeting up Talie & her good friends Jane & Robin at Rumors Coffee House/Townie Bookstore.  I hadn’t seen her since her surgery.  She drove for the first time since her leg was amputated & using a walker, strolled up the block, being stopped a couple of times along the way but random friends on the street, wanting to wish her well & see how she’s feeling.  We all sat & chatted outside for a couple of hours, enjoying the beautiful morning, but mostly the conversation between all of us.  I’ve always said Talie is one of the most positive people I’ve ever met & that’s still true.  She’s also one of the bravest, most courageous & determined person I know.  She has touched so many lives.  After hugs all around, we said good bye.

We’d started walking to the car, to go on a hike, but the skies just turned black.  So, when you can’t hike, you go to the Brick.  It was TODAY that Tracy was working & she was so excited to see me & hand me a new big stout they’d just tapped (I had to burst her bubble & tell her that yesterday when we showed up, Brian was also excited to give me a glass of the same beer!.  But, it was all fun & the beer was really good too…both days!)  So, we had another great day at the bar of the Brick….lots of good conversation then we had to say good bye to everyone…boo hoo!

The skies were brighter by the time we left the Brick, so we decided to go on a short town hike.  Yesterday, Brian had told me about Feldspar Crystals that he sometimes found along the scree fields on the Upper Loop.  Danny had never been on this hike before, so that’s the trail we started hiking.  We looked around each scree field we passed, but didn’t find anything but rocks.  But, we enjoyed this hike anyway (well, I don’t think Danny liked the road walk that much).

We continued our daily routine of buying ice & water, then going back to camp to visit & enjoy the evening.

Day 34 7.24
Today is our last day together in Crested Butte for this summer.  We spent the morning sorting through gear, taking down the Castle tent & I put up my small backpacking tent.  Id be sending a few things home with Danny & hed be leaving me some of his hiking & camping gear for when we meet up in California in late August.

The view of Gothic mountain from camp.

It was supposed to start raining, so we chose this short hike, Lower Loop, that Danny hadn’t done in a couple of years.  The rain held off & we loved every last minute of our hiking together.

Love this view of the Slate River!

Then we hiked Ditch Road or East Brush Creek or whatever they call it.its super pretty!

I love our time out here togetherI so wish he could travel with me more often!

Love these views of the East River, the flowers & the mountains!

We went for a late but OMG soooo good lunch at Ryce.kind of Thai place downtown.  He met me at the laundromat & I threw in a couple of loads of clothes, then it was time to say good bye.  He was leaving late this afternoon, would take a few hour break in the middle of the night somewhere in Kansas, then be back home before noon on Sunday.  I was staying one more night, to see a couple more of my friends & say good bye.

About 20 hugs later, he pulled out in his little camper truck & headed East back to Kansas.  Itd been so great to have him here hiking everyday, meeting up with our friends, & sharing long conversations back at camp in the evening.  We’ll both be so happy when he quits work & can do this more often.

I finished up my laundry, then went up to Townie Books & bought a couple of paperbacks…I was going to need one for my next adventure!  Then I went to the Princess Bar & met up with my friends Kate & Susan; & met a new friend Shelly...who offered to hike with me next year & show me the way up Avery!  Yay!  She also works at RMBL & knows Rick & Greta.

After good bye hugs, I drove back to camp with laundry all over the inside of camper.  She’s kind of a mess on the inside right now & it drives me crazy.  It was dry night for once & since I’d be leaving early in the morning & my little tent was dry, I went ahead & took it down tonight.  Then I piled up my clothes neatly, (but did not put them away) & went to bed for my last night in my sweet little Crested Butte camp…my home away from home!

Day 35 7.25
Well, I certainly didnt sleep great last nighta million things going through my brain.  But, I rolled out of bed, made a travel cup of coffee & left my beautiful soul-filling little Colorado town.  Always, sad to leave.  But, WOW!  It had been a great 5 weeks…filled with so much hiking, lots of time with friends, tons of yummy food & drinks, so many magnificent views & one of the best wildflower seasons I’ve ever seen!

I stopped in Gunnison & made a quick trip into the grocery store…back to salads & oops!!  I bought one more box of….


A little trip magic happens.

Id been putting the miles behind me & was in Montrose in no time.  I was just headed through town & I spotted this van!  I know those designs & that logo!  

Those of you who know me, know there’s not many girly or decorative things I do.  There are certain brands I like …Patagonia, North Face, Chaco, Kuhl…all super practical things.  Most of my decorating at home are my own photographs that line the walls.  Otherwise, I’m sort of a minimalist.  Except…for this company.  Natural Life designs not only soft, beautiful & colorful products, they have such cool sayings & quotes on their stuff.  In my little 4Runner Camper, I have their “Live Happy” flags; a flowered wall hook that holds my Kimbala & my tiny disco ball (that doesn’t sound minimalist does it?), a super soft “Be Happy” blanket & some pompom twinkle lights!  That’s a lot for a small space!

So, I buzzed around the block, parked, got out & took a photo of this super awesome camper!  Then I heard a man’s voice so I walked around to the other side & met the couple.  The man didn’t introduce himself, but he did introduce the woman…He said this is Patti, the owner & founder of Natural Life.  OMG!  I felt like I was meeting a rock star!!    He offered to take my photo with her & I said great!

I know they were in a hurryheading for both a family reunion & winter photo shoot in Telluride, but it was so sweet of them to take a few minutes to greet a fan.  Then Patti handed me some stickers & then a big soft super fluffy gorgeous blanketshe said it was her very favorite product they make.  Wow!  I was blown away.  I waved as they drove by…just grinning from ear to ear.  

Some views along my 10 hour practically non-stop drive…

the San Juans between Ridgeway & Telluride...

Up on Lizard Head Pass...

Driving through Tribal Lands in Arizona...

And finally, Sedona.

My little campspot for the night.

Walked up the muddy road to catch this last glimpse of the sunset (weird because all around me it looks like itgoing to pour rain & storm!)

So, Im sitting here, now its pitch black outside, but finishing up the last bit of my Colorado trip.  

I have this little lip balm holder that hangs on the front of my pack.  This trip, I lost my lip balm twicethen found it on the trail on the way back!    

I wanted to test a new pair of shorts I bought to see if I could get them soaking wet & how quickly they would dry (this is for my next trip).  So, on the hike back from the 401, I sat in Emerald Lake, then hiked the 2 miles back to the car in dripping wet shorts.  They dried quick enough & passed the test!

what’s next?
While my trip to Colorado is over, a couple of brand new adventures begin.  

These are both way out of my comfort zone, but Im super stoked about them.  Im into saying YES! to things at this point in my lifetheres no time to wait to find the courage or plan for another day.  Life is going so fast & I want to grab every minute of fun; enjoy exciting experiences;  see beautiful places; & continue to meet awesome & interesting people.

So check back in a couple of weeks & see what I’ve been up to.

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