When: August 1st-2nd, 2009
Who: Andy and Caitlin (plus failed attempts to meet up with roommate Andrew + others)
Hit up the insanely beautiful town of Crested Butte for a little adventure with Caitlin at the beginning of August. We couldn’t ask for a better weekend of hiking and camping. We made it just an overnight trip due to us not being able to leave earlier on Friday, but it was well worth the drive.
The drive out took a little longer then normal due to a couple bike races going on, however the 4.5 hour drive to this place beats sitting in record-breaking summer traffic on I-70, when the highest 24 hr period of traffic ever was set on August 2nd with 50,918 vehicles!!! (link to article here). Luckily for us the rest of Colorado has not found out about the beauty that lies outside of summit and eagle counties. Needless to say on the way home I cruised in the Civic across some of my favorite areas to see from a car in Colorado.
Enough with the talky, talk. Time for some pictures.
Mt. Crested Butte as viewed from Gothic Peak area on the Copper Lake Trail (where is the snow?):
Some Amazing random peaks around here at the edge of the Maroon Bell Wilderness (along the Copper Lake Trail):
Weird fern plants we found while cruising off the trail in the middle of some marsh:
Finishing up our hike into the Maroon Bells Wilderness:
So that night we were suppose to met-up with Andrew and crew and camp at their campsite. It was getting late and we couldn’t get a hold of them so I took the civic up the road hoping to run into them or their campsite. We kept driving up this dirt road expecting to find them since there was only a select few campsites however we were not having any such luck.
Expecting to find them “just around the next bend” I made the Honda Civic get up some pretty gnarly rocks and around some pretty good wash-outs. Still no luck and the worse part was that we only passed a few campsites and they were all full. Finally after about 45 minutes of slowly driving and about 8 miles up the road we realized that we just needed to find a good campsite. At a top of a big/steep hill we scouted the road ahead to make sure it was passable, headed down the slope, and right at the bottom was the perfect campsite just waiting for us.
We ended-up so far back that the next closest campers were another 1/2 mile up the road and tucked back into the forest. The next nearest group was well over a mile a way. Not bad for it being ~6:00pm on a Saturday night and a car-camping spot. Not to mention that the spot was perfect with us overlooking an awesome valley with a beautiful stream running through the middle of it.
View of the big dipper from our campsite:
The next morning after taking our time we headed-up a nearby hike and this is the valley we overlooked, quite the views considering this is the lesser visited area:
The hike was not the best trail in the world (due to us missing the original trail we wanted as it was improperly marked on the map) as this trail was pretty much just straight-uphill. We didn’t quite make it to the top as a big thunderstorm rolled-over us right as we were getting into the most exposed terrain. We high-tailed it down to some cover, left the established trail, and followed game trails through some awesome hillside meadows, marshes, aspen forests, and pine forests for about 2-3 miles back to our campsite.
After we got back to the campsite we hung-out at the creek and enjoyed some snacks and delicious beverages before heading back to Denver.
Heading down the dirt road in the civic, needless to say we were the only non-truck (not even subarus) along the entire 4wd part of the trail. People were giving me some strange looks:
On the way back we cruised all the way to Denver. Not a car in sight and we witness some incredible sunset action along the road.
Mt. Antero (14,269 ft) from the road. I was driving at least 75 MPH while I snapped the pic (one of my favorites from the trip) taken right as you are heading up to the Hwy 24/285 interchange:
As mentioned before, we crusied back via Hwy 285 (3 hrs 40mins), when I-70 broke the record for the busiest day ever and instead of seeing bumper to bumper traffic for 3 hrs we were looking at this:
The last thing I need to mention to anyone that is living along the front range right now is how much rain we have seen throughout the latter part of spring and now through mid-July. It has been straight-up crazy.
While the rain has caused some problems with doing certain outdoor activities, there still has been some time to get out and enjoy the summer (and let me clarify, it is not the rain that is the issue, it is the insanely massive lighting/thunder storms that rush in faster then a fat kid in willy wonka’s factory and subsequently dump enough monsoon rain to make it feel like you woke-up in the middle of a CIA waterboarding torture). Anyways enjoy some of the photos of random things around Denver:
Caitlin enjoying the lush landscape (a nice benefit of the recent weather) of Three Sisters park:
Getting some climbing done at the Corridor area in Castlewood (with Jake, Trent, and Bethany):
Getting one small day of wake-boarding in at Horsetooth Reservoir (with the parental units):
Dates: Saturday June 14th – Monday June 16th
Miles Traveled: ~775 Miles (over just three days!)
Route: Sat: Denver to Durango (stay in Durango at our crazy cousin’s bed and breakfast), Sun: Parents start bike race, we head to Mesa Verde NP, then back through Durango over Molas pass to Silverton, over Red Mtn Pass to Ouray, then to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for camping, Mon: Black canyon back to D-Town.
What the Hell Happened: This trip began as my parents had the crazy idea of riding their road-bikes from Durango to Breckenridge with Ride the Rockies and convinced me to drop them off for the race. So, my sister and I decided we make the best of it and explore parts of Southern Colorado, an idea which morphed into an excellent adventure.
Lizard checking out Molas Pass on the way to Silverton:
Sunset over the Black Canyon:
Of course in true Andy style planning we pretty much started the trip with some ideas but no concrete agenda which allowed for us to just check out some cool spots without really worrying about time. After getting to Durango we stayed the night at our Cousin Al’s and his wife Emma Lou’s Bed and Breakfast http://www.lousbandb.com/. The next day the real journey began as the parentals set off on the bike ride and my sister and I headed out to Mesa Verde NP.
Mesa Verde is really cool to check out how this civilization lived and how they abandoned the cliffs; pretty interesting stuff and really crazy to see how fortified some of the dwellings are and how desperate their culture must have been at one time.
While there I had the pleasure of scaring the shit out of my sister when we did one of the tours and she had to first climb a 32 ft ladder to get into the Balcony House Dwelling and two 15 ft ladders (on a steep cliff face) to get out. She did not enjoy it too much, but I had a great time watching her…hehe.
At Mesa Verde:
After that we headed up and over the passes to Silverton where we hung out in the town. A little different then in winter when I visit that place. Taking the road up and over Red Mountain Pass was probably the most beautiful drive I have done in my life. The mountains were so lush it did not feel like we were in Colorado, instead it felt like a mix between amazon jungle and Siberian pine forest. The rivers were flowing at maximum and my picture taking skills just did not represent how gorgeous this place was at that time.
Our last major destination was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a huge chasm that cuts 2000ft deep into some of the hardest rock on earth. Here we camped out and spent a good chunk of the next day hiking and exploring this insane geological feature.
Check out the photos for more goodies: