4. Summer in Colorado…June/July, 2021

Day 22 7.12
Today the three of us hiked the 403 trail.  Its one of Jills, Dannys & mys favorite!  The skies were smoky, but its still a great hike filled with wildflowers.

The view from the Memorial Bench.

At the top!

After going back to camp for a bit, then we all went to Bonez for Happy Hour & then to the Monday night free concert at the Arts Center.  I was meeting my friend Susan there.  Jill & Greg cut out early to call it a night in camp. Susan & I watched all the little kids & some adults dance the night away to a local band.  

Back at camp it began to rain again, so I just tucked in for the night!

Day 23 7.13
Todays plan sort of morphed into multiple ideas.  We all three went in Gregs big truck up Gothic road & walked the shelf roadhe want to see if he felt comfortable driving it.  He did not!  So, we just kept on walkingover the shelf & past Emerald Lake. 

Jill & Greg above Emerald Lake.

Jill really wanted to hike part of the West Maroon Trail…so we decided to walk all the way to the trailhead.  About 1/2 mile into the hike, she realized she’d hiked this before!  But it’s a wonderful trail, & the wildflowers are always spectacular here, so we just kept walking.  So many Columbine along this trail!

We’d never planned to go all the way to the pass, but another trail intersects the West Maroon Pass & takes you up to the top of the 401.  I was sure Jill had never done this one before.  I’ve done it twice, but from the other direction.  So, she thought that sounded like a good plan, so off we went & climbed up to the top of the 401.

There’s one section before the 2nd creek crossing, that is straight down on scree.  I call this the “ slide”…because the best way down it is to just sit on your but & plummet to the bottom where the creek is.  

Jill really does enjoy these hikes & I love hiking with her!  One of the Maroon Bells in the background.

A gazillion wildflowers along this hike!

Super dirty hands from going down the “slide” along this trail.

There’s Greg…hiking ahead of us on the shelf road.

We’d hiked over 8 miles & luckily had decent but threatening weather for some of it.  We went back into CB & had a super yummy pizza & margarita at the really unique & fun basement bar of the Secret Stash.  We were all wiped out after todays hike & late dinner, so back in camp we all said good night & they went into their trailer & I went to the 4Runner under pouring skies.

Day 24 7.14
The day had a dreadful forecastrain all day.  Jill & Greg left early this morning to go eat breakfast at Paradise Cafe.  I went to Gunnison to run some errands then drove the back way over Ohio Creek Road.  I found a new road to explore called Carbon Creek Road, so I drove into the wilderness about 7 miles seeing new sites & places, until it ended on Private Property.  It was raining steadily but I still wanted to get some small hike in today.  Along Ohio Creek road is a trail that starts in the Aspens & winds its way up to lakes called The Beaver Ponds.  I put on my raincoat, grabbed my pack & poles & took off on the slightly muddy trail.

I hiked to the lake, seeing signs of moose, but no actual moose on this wet day.  Sadly, none of my photos downloaded from this hikeI am missing several.  Not sure what happened.  The one below (dont know why it had a gray strip on it) was of the falls you see when driving Ohio Creek road.  Its a nice, but bumpy & today a little slick muddy road that takes you back to Kebler Pass.

I drove from Kebler & back to the Visitors Center not wanting to go spend the day at a wet muddy camp.  I downloaded (some obviously not successfully) all my 650+ photos & started to work on the website.  It was a nice place to park & sit in the back of Camper, while it rained & get this done.I was pretty far behind.  Once I ran out battery, I headed back to camp & opened a beer.  Greg popped opened the trailer door & invited me inside.  Soon after a huge storm blew in with heavy rain.  They had spent the day inside, resting & napping.

Everything is muddy at camp, but after my beer I ran to my 4Runner & sat inside & read before calling it a night!

Day 25 7.15
Jill & I visited in camp this morningI love these chats & sunny mornings in camp!  Then I left for town to go to the library, the Post Office & to dump trash.  The three of us met at the Last Steep for an early lunchthe sweet potato & black bean tacos were delish!

They had a plans to golf all day &  I wanted to go hike Baxters Gulch.  Along the trail I heard someone say, “hey Vicki” & it was Tracy from the Brick out with her husband & dogs for a hike!  Fun!

This trail has great views of Mt. Crested Butte….

And Whetstone Mountain too.

Along the trail I saw one of my fave flowers…Prairie Smoke!

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There are a couple of little water crossings along this trail, but really nice with tiny falls.

After my hike I went to the Brick.  I have sort of been doing a research project on all the local margaritas & today’s the Brick’s was on special.  I grabbed a seat at the outdoor bar & Sean, one of the owners of the Last Steep was sitting there enjoying a beer.  I had said hi earlier today when wed eaten lunch there.  Angie was the bartender & she made a yummy marg.  And Sean had her put it on his tab!  Him & I visited for about an hour before he had to go back to the Steep to work the dinner shift.  Loved our conversation.  Hes a big boater & told me stories of his Grand Canyon float trips as well as others.  Such a cool guy!

Back at camp & took down my screen tent & put up my backpacking tent.  Jill & Greg would be pulling out in the morning, heading back to Texas in their Airstream.  But, an interesting thing happened in the evening.

I was just sitting outside alone reading & a woman walked up into camp & said, Are you Vicki Hill?.  Her name was Liz & shes from Minnesota & new to solo camping.  She also follows Sherry Ott & had read the article Sherry had written about me, then she started reading my website.  I was super surprised she found me out here, but she was great to visit with.  She was camped up the road & I invited her back tomorrow night if she want to chat more.  It was a random thing, but pretty awesome to meet her.

I went in to Jills trailer to visit for a bit, then said goodnight.  While the bruising in my ankle is so much better, its been bothering me when I sleep at night.  Im hoping it heals up super quick & grateful it doesnt seem to be too bad during the day when Im hiking.

Day 26 7.16
So, I decided today, that before Danny came, Id rest my ankle for a couple of days.  I’m so bummed, but want to do whatever I can to get it back to normal.

Jill & Greg hooked up the Airstream & began the process of getting out of camp & back on the road south.  It was great having them here & I always love hiking with Jill & our morning conversations.

After they left, I made coffee, enjoyed my view, caught up with my Sister-in-law on the phone, then tried to take a shower with my new USB powered shower.  It was a production & I certainly need to streamline the process, but for today I was pretty clean.

I wanted to eat lunch at Paradise & got there around 11.  Angie, the owner said it would be about a 45 minute wait, which I didn’t mind at all.  But in a few minutes, she came back over to me & said there was a guy eating out on the patio at a table for two & he would share it with me if I wanted to join him.  I said I’d think about it, but it only took a couple minutes for me to say “yes!”   Why not?  You never know what interesting people & experiences you can have when you say ‘yes”.  His name was Ken & he was from Santa Fe, NM.  He was also a Wildflower Guide here during the festival this week & had been coming here for about 10 years.  He was also a retired librarian….so, we had a ton of interesting things to talk about.  For about an hour, while we both ate, we also chatted.  It was really nice & I’m going to remember to offer my extra seat at a table to someone in the future.

Then I went & did a quick load of laundry, then met Susan for a chat on a beautiful porch.  I hadn’t slept much last night, so passed on happy hour with her & another friend, then went back to camp.  Liz came over & we sat & had a beer & chatted until way past dark.  She was headed out soon, off to explore more of Colorado.  But, wow, what delightful conversation we had, getting to know each other & talking about life, kids, & travel.  Even with no hiking, today was great & full of interesting people! (Sorry…no pics!)

Day 27 7.15
I spent all morning in camp reading & straightening up Camper.  I was also tracking Dannys progress since yesterday evening as he began his boring long drive across Kansas on his way here.

Once he got into town, we both parked at the Visitors Center then walked up to the Brick for a yummy lunch.  Yay!  It was soooo good to see him & have him here!  It poured rain for awhile but when it stopped we put up the giant tent, we affectionately call “The Castle” & then we figured out how we were going to park for the next week…snuggling up to each other in our ‘campers”!

Our little ‘Compound"

We love our Toyotas!

Sun shining on the mountain as the day starts to turn to eveningnever tire of this view & so grateful & happy to be sharing it with Danny tonight!

PS:  We use the Castle tent to not only store our table & chairs & screen tent when were gone during the day, but we also sit inside it to visit or eat when its raining outside.  I made a little fairy light chandelier for the inside of it!

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Day 28 7.18
We enjoyed a lazy morning in camp, drinking coffee & catching up with each other.  We both love these leisurely sun-filled mornings to watch the open space, look at the flowers & slow life down a bit.  We drove into town first to buy ice & water getting a super late start for our hike.  

Then we drove out to Gothic Road.  It was busy on this Sunday late morning.  Danny drove the shelf part of the road with no problem, then passed the super crowded West Maroon trailhead, drove just a little bit farther down the road & parked his truck.  There was only one other car there, across the river.  For a super busy Sunday in July, there was hardly anyone hiking our trail today.

Danny never has to warm up to begin hiking & I save some of our favorites for when he arrives.  The forecast is looking kind of crappy for later in the week, so we started his first full day here with a big one but one we both love…North Pole Basin.

The waterfalls are so lovely along this trail.

The trail climbs & climbs...

Love this view!

One of the Maroon Bells looming large in the distance!

The flowers were just breathtaking!

At this point, there is no trail.  You just walk straight up the side of the mountain until you reach the top!

Happy but tired hikers.

Danny loves to just walk around exploring as much as he can.  He looks so small in this huge mountain space.so glad hes hiking here with me!

After our hike, we drove back into town & split a yummy burger at the Last Steep.

Another gorgeous night sky in Crested Butte.

We sat around the twinkle-fire (btw…he did not laugh at this!) tonight, shared a beer & enjoyed the evening until it got chilly & super dark.

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