Plan B…Danny takes me to Colorado... August, 2023

I’m referring to this season as my “Lost Summer”.  In actuality, I was supposed to be on a 5 month road trip starting last April.  Instead, I’ve spent so many hours nauseous, lethargic, shaking, heart pounding, limbs tingling & fogginess filling my head & shadowing my eyesight; & many, many hours at medical centers & hospitals undergoing test after test after test.  And, still, no diagnosis.  

This week, Danny was supposed to be meeting me in Colorado…we’d had it all planned since last February.  But, since I’m still having med problems, & everyone unsure how the altitude would affect this medical mystery, Danny would be taking me to Colorado.  I was so grateful, since none of us knew if I could drive that far by myself & I couldn’t wait to see the place that fills my heart & soul, to visit with my friends (I’ve been living in a social desert the past four months) in Colorado, camp below the majestic mountains & hopefully….really filled with hope, that we could do some hiking….wishing everyday to have my feet back on dirt.

Doing this travel diary different….no day by day logs (I’m pretty sick of logs after multiple times a day logging my blood pressure & my symptoms since April), but just enjoying each  moment…even the ones when I wasn’t feeling great, because I was finally where I am supposed to be…a place I love so very, very much.

So, here is Plan B.  

Wow!  I was so happy to be back behind the wheel of my 4Runner.  I love road tripping, & the farthest I’ve driven since Spring, is the hospital in Kansas City & to Lawrence, about 12 miles away.  We left around 9pm, I put on my music & really enjoyed the night time drive.  I was able to drive in spite of some symptoms starting. I would just say “Shaking??? I can drive & shake at the same time”.  Tingling arm?  I can drive & tingle at the same time”, etc.  Thankfully, the worst ones stayed away.  We flip flopped driving as the morning sun rose.  I wanted to show Danny the Painted Mines just outside of Colorado Springs on our way….he’d never seen these weird rock formations & it was a great place to stretch our legs.

We made it into Crested Butte & out to my favorite campsite around noon.  My friend Talie, had a campsite —our favorite one—& she was sharing with us!  Very grateful to her for doing that, plus the three of us love to camp together….its always really awesome.  

I was having a good day & loved setting up camp.  Just being back here was perfect!

Soon, Talie returned, then Joanie arrived from Longmont.  These two have been in touch with me the past four months, as had so many of my friends.  It means so much & I couldn’t wait to spend time with these two.  Danny built us a great fire…my first campfire this year!

A little rainbow showing up….& that mountain…just love it!

The night was just wonderful sitting around chatting, listening to the others talk & watching the skies grow dark.  We stayed up watching the stars & watched the Starlink train, which I had not known anything about.  I was so excited to sleep in the back of my 4Runner too!

The next morning was lovely….the sun warms camp up quickly & we all made tea & coffee & chatted more.  Then we went hiking down to the river.  A hike I've done many times, it’s super easy but beautiful.  So, very, very happy to be back on a Crested Butte trail!

Always love this view!

Talie goes all over on her bike!

Looking back down the river towards Mt. Crested Butte.

Joanie & I hiked on toward Gunsight Pass bridge & Danny & Talie hiked back to the trailhead.  Talie road her bike home & Danny drove the 4Runner over to Slate River road to pick up me & Joanie.  Loved our conversation during our hike…I’ve missed my friends so much!

Talie had plans for this afternoon, so the three of us ate pizza the Stash….so very very good!  Then we drove up Gothic road & down to Emerald Lake.  Just as breathtaking as always.  Joanie is a published photographer & always so great to hike with.  She was taking her professional shots, & I was just taking all the beauty in…hoping I’ll never forget this place & really hopeful I’ll be back & be back with my normal body again.

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The day was going good & there was one more place I wanted to show Joanie.  She was driving & will drive anywhere, so we drove down the rocky road & Danny was our gate guy; getting out to open the three gates you need to pass through to go on this very short hike.  Then we were at Stupid Falls…so very pretty!

Back at camp, we rested, ate & then watched the Alpenglow…I could do this everynight!

I had a really bad night last night, so was moving really slowly this morning.  But, slow can work out here under the mountains…hot tea, good friends, quiet, aspens, breezes, laughter, conversations…all of it filled me up.

Joanie had to leave Monday morning & Talie had plans back in town.  Danny & were going to try to do a hike I”ve done dozens of times…not a very hard hike for me normally.  But, I was having a great day.  So, we drove up the road to hike the 403.  And it went great!  Oh how I’ve missed these views!

Cinnamon Mountain with a bit of snow still.

At the top…we both had a few tears.  Danny has been my rock & my caregiver; he has listened to my fears, my rants, my outbursts, watched my body deflate like a balloon loosing air when my BP drops into the 70’s then lay there sick like a sad wet noodle for hours; he’s been there for it all & always for me.  Big, big deep love for this man.

At the top, while looking over the summit towards the mountains on Gothic, below us slowly walked a mountain goat!  Neither of us had ever seen one up here before…spectacular!

We could tell the goats direction might lead it towards another trail.  So, we carefully hiked over towards the trail & sure enough the goat was walking up the trail towards us.  But, when we all caught sight of each other, the goat slowly turned around & walked in the opposite direction!

My first Columbine!

We were really happy to see some wildflowers still out.

We’ve taken this picture almost every year we’ve been coming to CB…but this year, with us dealing with so much uncertainty, it meant even more.

After our hike, we drove into town & met up with Rick to catch up.  I love to hear all about the town, the past winter, his bike trips, the scoop on Elk Streetso grateful for my dear friends out here.

We managed to be here for the last Alpenglow Concert of the year.  While at the park, we ran into Sean one of our friends that used to own the Last Steep.  It was a great visit.  He asked me what was going on with me & when I told him the short version but that Id hoped all the hugs from my friends out here would transfer some great healing energy into my body, he hugged me for so long!  

On the flip side of that story, Danny & I had run into Dan, one of the former owners of the Brick, where we had spent so much time & got to know both owners well & some of their staff.  I landed a big hug on Dan when I saw him, only to learn later Dan isn’t really a hugger.  Tracy thought this was hysterical.  I hope Dan won’t be traumatized by my hug.

The night sky was gorgeous!  This was the most normal day I’ve felt in four months.  Tracy & John came out to camp tonight & the five of us enjoyed some good beer, great conversation & another awesome campfire.  We had a toast as I ripped off the heart monitor Id been wearing for the past two weeks & will mail in tomorrow.  Wonder if that will give us any clues as to what’s going on with me?

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