2. Summer in Colorado…June/July, 2021

Day 8 6.28
Todays hike is Rustlers Gulch.  I knew there was a possibility of bad weather moving in, but I was going to hike & just turn around when I thought I needed to.  The flowers were beautiful down in the valley & the water crossings pretty easy.

I saw this downed tree over the trail…I don’t remember this from last year.  It even smelled like a fresh cut tree.  The round mark on the tree I think is made from a bear….

Then I inspected it closer….

and found claw marks…I think anyway.

The views just never quit!

The trail turns up the valley to a much higher elevation.  The flowers up here werent at their peak, but still some lovelies!

Still some snow up high.

So many colors & kinds of flowers!

Glacier Lilies!

Love this view of Rustlers Gulch!

About 1/2 mile from the end of the trail, the sky was growing ugly.  I turned around & happily strode down the trailthe views just as incredible.

After loading up into my 4Runner, I pulled back off the road in one of my old camp sites (camping is no longer allowed along Gothic from June 15 to August 15, but this is where I camped for about the first 5 years I was out here in CB).  It was too cold to take a real shower (from my new camp shower), so I took a ‘bottle bath’ instead.  It was private enough I could strip down, scrub up & rinse off.  Not perfect, but it worked fine for me!

Then it started to rain…so….I went to Bonez for Happy Hour!  Yum Yum Yum!

Back out at camp, the skies eventually dried up & cleared!  Breathtaking sky tonight!

Day 9 6.29
Todays forecast was for rain all day.  I decided I wouldn’t go far…maybe paste together a couple of short trails, so I wouldn’t get caught out in bad or down pouring weather.  I drove up to Hunter Hill…a spot between CB & Mt. Crested Butte.  A lot of local hikers & mountain bikers do this trail, as well as summer camps filled with super cute boys & girls learning to mountain bike.  The trail is called Upper Loop & was filled with amazing flowers!

Beautiful view of Whetstone Mountain.

Then I went to Teddy’s trail & it was blooming like crazy too!

Then I drove down Gothic road & hiked Judd Falls.

What a moody sky!  I made a salad back in camp & tucked in for the night.

Day 10 6.30
This morning was a long lazy morning in camp with chilly temps.  I spotted a herd of about 30 elk up on the ridge though….always super awesome to see the wildlife that lives here!

Then I headed to town…I was meeting up with a friend today!

I had such a wonderful lunch at the Brick with Sherry Ott (of Ottsworld) & her lovely parents.  Sherry leads an amazing life that has been & continues to be filled with international & US travel…such a wonderful life!  It’s been super fun getting to know her both here in CB & at her home base in Denver!

After lunch I drove out to Copley Lake for the short two mile hike up the old dirt road to the lake.  It was beautiful as always, & I was the only one there.

Always love to see the new bright green growing on the pine trees.

Love these views of Owens & Ruby behind the lake (they don’t look that far away, but are!)

I went back to camp & finished the 1/2 of my burger from lunch, then had Camp Happy Hour.  It ended up a dry night.no rain!  Camp is started to filling up now, but there was a super awesome night sky tonight.

Day 11 7.1
This morning my feet landed on one of my top 3 or 4 favorite trails here in Crested Butte.   The 401 is a highly rated mountain bike trail, but I love love love to hike it.  As I’ve stated every time I write about this trail, mountain bikers are my favorite athletes…super tough, always nice, & they take time to enjoy the views.  I always watch for them coming & going & jump off the trail as soon as I see them.  

If you look up about halfway on the mountain, you can see a faint trail.  This is the 401 & I love it!

Does one ever get tired of looking at these spectacular & perfect flowers?

The flowers weren’t at their peak yet, but just hiking through the Aspen forests before the trail pops out along the edge of the mountain was wonderful!

Gothic Mountain across the valley is so huge & amazing!

The skies were growing dark & this trail is super exposed.  I really didn’t want to get caught out so high, with no cover if there was a storm.  So, as I walked I thought about my choices.  I usually hike this trail out 4 miles to the top, then back the same way I’d come up.  But that all left me super exposed to lightening & storms.  I could also hike past the top, down through the forest & hike the road back.  Some road walks are fine; others can be torture.  Gothic road is usually super busy with bikers, jeepers, ATV’s & also crazy dusty.  But since it had rained a lot overnight, the dust wouldn’t be a problem.  I’d been looking down over the road on my way up, & it seemed super quiet today.  By the time I reached the top, (where the photo below was taken), I thought the storm might miss me & I could choose any way down I wanted.  But, hiking through the forest & down the road, past the lake & over the shelf road (mainly to see what condition it was in for driving it later in the week) & all the way back to my car, was growing on me.

And, so that’s what I did.  The gorgeous Emerald Lake!

I drove into town after my hike…went to the store & to the library, then back to camp.  My little home right now!

Day 12 7.2
I ate breakfast at the yummy Paradise Cafe this morning!  Great food & awesome staff!   Then I headed south of town to hike the Walrod Gulch Cutoff trail loop.

The whole mountain was covered in these flowers!

Fields of Gold!

The Mariposa Lilly.

I was pretty sweaty, so I went back to camp after my hike to clean up.  Then back  into town to the Post Office to pick up a a new pair of hiking shoes…I’d worn one of my pairs out!  I had my Friday afternoon Happy Hour FaceTime call with Jill then went to the library to pick up some books I’d ordered.  

I’d been invited to a locals street party tonight by my friend Susan, & was excited to go to that & meet some new people.  It was a fun group & Susan introduced me all around.

Then I went out to camp to enjoy the rest of the night.  This year I’ve decided not to build any campfires…the fires in most of the western states are horrible.  But, here’s my no-fire option…a twinkle light campfire.  Some people can laugh, but I just grab my Rumpl blanket, & I’m warm & have a lovely atmosphere (& I don’t smell like smoke when I crawl into bed at night).

Day 13 7.3
I started out the morning running to the store to buy…..the same thing I always buy…water & ice.  Then I drove out Kebler Pass to hike Cliff Creek to Beckwith Pass.  I love this hike!

The Castles from the backside of Beckwith.

I went to Bonez for Happy Hour once back in town.  Then walked down to the Arts Center to look at the “Chalk Walk” they were having.  I love these events!  They have one each year out in Arcata, CA where the boys live.  I tried to FT Claire & Emma, thinking they would love to see these artists drawing all kinds of cool stuff on the sidewalks, but they weren’t available.

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Went back to camp, tucked in & enjoyed the evening…all campsites are full now in prep for the holiday tomorrow.

Day 14 7.4  Happy 4th of July!
I made coffee in camp then read for awhile.  I was in town by 9:30 anticipating the holiday fun that would be happening.  The Parade is back!  Silenced & stopped by the pandemic last year, this is the best 4th parade (not so patriotic, but lots of fun!).  It ended up being much smaller this year…last minute decision to fire it up again, but still was great!  The Sunday Farmers Market was also going on, so I started there walking around & looking at everything.  For breakfast I bought one BBQ rib…it was yummy!  I love BBQ & have missed it.  I enjoyed seeing the local jewelers too at the Art Market. 

The Parade was about to begin, but since the line was short, I popped into Third Bowl Ice Cream shop & got a kids sized scoop of salted caramel brownie.  Then I watched the parade!

The Red Ladies of Crested Butte!

Logan & his hot dog stand.  I met him last year….what a fun guy!  This was his two year anniversary & he was giving away hot dogs.  I’d visited with him yesterday at the Chalk Walk.  He has a new baby boy…Teddy.  Such a nice guy.  He told me to be sure to come by & get a dog with the works…& so I did!  I was eating my way through the 4th!

Right south of town is another really nice hike called Whetstone Vista.  It was hot today & this hike was in the Aspens where it would be super cool.  Plus I could add on the Bridges trail that I didn’t do the other day.  It was Sunday & a holiday, so I knew the noisy construction workers would be quiet.

Whetstone mountain.

The Bridges trail winds through the Aspens & has about 10 small bridges like this.  Wow…no one was here & it was super quiet.

After the Bridges trail, I backtracked to finish the other end of the Upper loop & then many switchbacks down to the road & then hiked the road back to my car.   I didn’t realize they were having live music in town later this afternoon….I would have surely gone back for the fun.

Instead, I went back out to camp & just enjoyed a lovely evening & a good beer.

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