We’ve managed to get in two good hikes since our arrival in Crested Butte. Not as many as we would have liked, but you know…things get in the way. First there was the on and off rain all day Sunday, complete with a violent thunderstorm and some hail thrown in for good measure. Then yesterday I came down with the same sickness that Tim had last week. It’s some sort of stomach-head thing that pretty much wiped me out all day. So we didn’t end up going on our planned hike. Luckily we’ll be around until Sunday, which leaves us plenty of time for farther exploration. In fact, this afternoon we have a trip up to Lake Irwin planned. Pretty much everyone who heard we were coming to Crested Butte recommended Lake Irwin, so I am expecting it to be good. More on that later though. Right now I’ll tell you about the two hikes that we have been on.
If you continue up Washington Gulch Rd. past our campsite the road turns narrow, steep and twisty. Eventually you will reach Paradise Pass, and then a few miles farther Schofield Pass and Emerald Lake. We knew at such a high elevation the road was sure to be covered with snow at some point, but we decided to drive up as far as possible. We made it within almost a mile of Paradise Pass before the snow pack on the skinny road forced us to park and walk the rest of the way.
At the top of the pass we found a tiny pond filled with melting snow, some hardy yellow wildflowers, and patches of snow everywhere for Phineas to enjoy.
We trudged through the snow (in our shorts) for a bit before finding a trail that followed along the side of the mountain. After following it for a short distance the trail kind of disappeared, and since we were walking on loose rock with a steep drop off on one side we decided to stop and turn around. From our stopping point we had an awesome view of the valley below.
For our next hike we again headed up Washington Gulch Road. This time we only traveled a mile or two past our campsite to the Washington Gulch Trail-head. The entire trail is around five-miles and goes from Washington Gulch Rd. over to the Gothic Valley. We didn’t make it the entire way, instead turning around when a dark cloud hoovered overhead threatening to get us wet. We’ve noticed a pattern up here in the mountains. Nearly every day starts off with a perfect blue sky and then sometime in the afternoon big puffy clouds roll in. Eventually these puffy clouds turn dark and threatening. Most days we have seen rain off in the distance, but only one day has it actually rained on us. The smart thing to do would be to go out in the morning, but since Tim works during the day, we have to wait until late afternoon. So far so good, but one of these days we’re sure to get wet.
That’s it for our hiking adventures- so far. More to come soon…