3. Hike, bike & beer…Colorado 8.2013

Day THREE - Monday

Happy birthday Danny!!...it’s all downhill from here....but not in the way you’re probably thinking.

We continued to drive towards Crested Butte via South Park (so beautiful & this is a place I need to explore more...I haven’t done any hiking here & would love to sometime!) then to Buena Vista’s Brown Dog Cafe for a birthday breakfast.

After breakfast, we drove up to Cottonwood Pass--sort of a back way into CB.  

As we approached the top of the pass, I suggested to Danny that he might want to bike down the pass.  He decided to go for it (then, of course, I was a teeny tiny worried about how he & his bike would do on the descent).  I would follow him down in case either his bike gave out or the road turned to crap.

He’s riding an old hybrid bike...that used to belong to my Dad.  When he put on a sweatshirt (I thought because it was chilly on top of the pass) & dug out a pair of gloves & declared it was because if he fell, he’d have some protection (eek...worry meter going up).  But he had such a big smile on his face & what a opportunity to fly down a mountain pass on your birthday....I need to stop the worry & relish in his enjoyment!

Danny will descend about 3,000’ feet in 14 miles on a dirt road.  In some places the road is smooth & other places a little rutted with loose gravel.  There are RV’s & other vehicles going up & down, as well.  The road ends at Taylor Reservoir.  

He started out & I drove behind trying to photograph & video tape.

Half-way down we had to stop to let a truck pass us.

Yeah!  Made it all the way down the mountain!!

After we loaded up the bike, we took off the “slow way” to CB...along Spring Creek to Jack Cabin’s cutoff.  I mistakenly thought the whole Taylor River Road was closed & so took this rougher longer way.  I was wrong, but this is such a pretty drive, it wasn’t a bad mistake any way you look at it!

We knew we wouldn’t be hiking today; it’s too late in the day & the skies were dark & it was a little rainy.

This is the rainy season in CB...early storms & lots of rain, make for very “iffy” hiking days.  And the temps can fluxuate 20 degrees or more from hour to hour; its mountain-weather....you never know what it’s going to be.  

We drove out Slate River road & set up camp in the same place we had last year...great view, walking distance to the river, & still not too far from town.

It was time to hit the Brick!  Danny had been here last year with me & then heard me talk about meeting one of the owners on my last trip.

As we walked in, Dan (the co-owner & super beer geek (SBG) with so many amazing connections & friendships with a ton of brewers) waved hi to us & came right over.  He started right in...welcoming us both to CB & talking beer. He seemed genuinely glad that I got to come back to Crested Butte this summer.

Oh what a time it turned out to be!  Dan & Dan hit it off.  Dan (SBG) brought out some Stone W00T stout beer he’d recently received but hadn’t tried yet.  He popped it open & poured us all a glass.  The beer was excellent, but the conversation was priceless.  Listening to him talk about mountain biking with the owners/brewers of Avery, Boulder Beer, Ska, & others was so much fun.  We also tried Stones Sublimely Self Righteous & a couple of more (which I didn’t record).

We hadn’t eaten since breakfast, but it was time for Alpenglow to start...the free concert every Monday night in the park.  We grabbed our chairs & walked to the park.  Danny’s phone rang...it was Sara wishing him a happy birthday.  By the end of the day, he’d talked to all the kids & his mom...that’s a good day in our book!

We were both hungry so even before the concert ended, we took off to find something to eat.

Danny loves Mexican food & likes to have it on his birthday.  We chose Donita’s restaurant.  I’d vowed to eat here last trip (broke the vow & didn’t do it) because I’m addicted to their webcam.

When you want to be in a place so bad, the closest you can get when you’re not there is Donita’s webcam, the online local newspaper, making friends when you’re there & friending as many people & places on Facebook as you can.  That’s me.  So, it worked well to patronize the webcam provider & enjoy a Mexican birthday dinner for Danny.  We were hungry & it was good!

Then we hit the “Third Bowl” CB’s fantastic ice cream store.  They do have a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory which seems to serve ice cream to most tourists, but the Third Bowl is homemade, delicious, offers small portions & has unique flavors.  I was stuffed but Danny, who enjoys a bowl of ice cream almost every night back in Kansas, had a small Strawberry Camembert scoop.

And, I saw Hannah, Zen’s girlfriend, there!  She works at Third Bowl.  We were both surprised to see each other,  but shared an awesome hug.  She’s not going to make it to Burning Man this year, but is headed to Costa Rica later this fall.  She is such a fun & true CB girl!

We spotted this really cool bike on the way back to the Brick.  Dan (SBG) had asked if we were coming back in the evening...he had some more beer for us to try!  We weren’t going to miss that!

Dan (SBG) was ready for us with a newly received bottle from Stone.  This beer is actually a compilation made by a couple of home brewers & Stone.  It’s called R & R Coconut IPA.  I could never taste the coconut (& neither could Dickie...a cute bartender who’d been drinking with us & I’d met her last time I was here), but still thought it was good.  

I also ordered a Dogfish Head Sah Tea which is made with Chai Tea.  This was good stuff...so unique though, I’ve never tasted anything like it.  Danny had a Delirium Tremmons Belgium beer & really enjoy that.

This had been such a good day & Danny kept saying it was a great way to spend his birthday!  We said good night to Dan & Dickie at the Brick & headed out to camp.

The sky was clear by now & filled with millions of tiny but bright stars....what a perfect day!

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