Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

See that little white speck on the top of Mt. Crested Butte? Well that's me, believe it or not. On our last full day in Crested Butte, we decided to spend the morning hiking to the summit and back.

The Silver Queen lift was open and for a mere $15 we could hitch a ride up to the summit trail.

Warnings were abundant on the sign leading to the trail, but we were brave and we continued.

The trail started out pretty tame, much like any other hiking trail.

Then there were some steps.

We found we had to rest a bit along the way.

We even made a few friends. Someone had clearly been feeding the chipmunks. But despite the warnings on the sign, I didn't bring any food and I had nothing to give them.

These little guys were there, too, darting in amongst the rocks. I can barely see this one, he blends in so well. (He's really there, I swear.)

The trail became rockier.

And rockier

This is what I hiked (crawled) over to get up the last section. The trail was nonexistent at that point.

I took a couple of scary looking self-portraits when I reached the summit.

There were some incredible views from the top of that mountain peak.

See what I mean?


Can you believe I was all the way up there on that little pointy part?

Afterwards, we went back to our room and got cleaned up and then headed to the Spa for massages. Chris had the Swedish. I had the hot stone. We were both told "allow yourself to notice the quality of light behind your eyelids" and "allow yourself to notice the massage table supporting your weight." Umm, I could have lived without that part, but the massage itself was nice.

As was fitting, we spent our last evening in Crested Butte hanging with our favorite bartender, Jeffro, at the Forest Queen.

Must get back to Crested Butte soon, hopefully for good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Four, Five and Six

I can't believe how fast our time in Crested Butte has flown by and that we're already leaving tomorrow. I know I've neglected this blog for the past couple of days. We have posted some photos on Facebook, but I also know that a couple people are following our trip solely through this blog, so I wanted to get something up here, even though we have a busy day today.
Remarkably enough, it looks like we are going to finish our Colorado trip with only one day of riding. It's kind of a bummer, but it gives us an excuse to come back again soon. I'm going to start saving my pennies as soon as we get back to Michigan. I'd like to just stay, but I haven't gotten anyone to bring my puppies to me and I miss them tons. Besides, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of jobs for our career paths here (or lodging we can afford). We are still scheming, though, and won't give up quite yet.

Tuesday we went on our first rafting trip. It left from Gunnison, which is a larger town about 30 miles away from Crested Butte. I'm not crazy about Gunnison. It has a lot of amenities that you'd need to use every once in a while if you lived in Crested Butte (supermarkets, gas stations, etc.) and it still has mountains and scenery far in the background, but the commercial enterprises mean that it doesn't have the charm of Crested Butte. It doesn't feel so isolated and otherworldly. I finally made my first trip to Sonic ever in Gunnison, so I don't have to feel deprived any longer.
We did, however, enjoy our float trip on the Gunnison River. The river was very beautiful. Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures, since they discouraged us from taking cameras. I should have. My camera would have been fine, but they kind of freaked me out about it a bit. I'm glad we took this rafting trip. Like I said, the scenery was good and it was a good intro to rafting for us since we'd never been. By the end of the trip, we were wanting more and searching for a bit more excitement, so we scheduled a whitewater trip for Thursday.
We were supposed to ride again on Wednesday, but Chris was feeling really crappy and stayed in bed for most of the day. I finally got tired of sitting in he hotel and ventured out on my own. I had a late lunch and wandered around town.

Bears are a big problem around here. They are constantly getting into people's trash and even breaking into their houses to steal food.

I sampled this interesting concoction at the bar late Wednesday night. It's called a Frank Cheesy. It's a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried, with nacho cheese and onions. I don't know why, but we've gotten into the habit of taking pictures of our food lately.

On Thursday we had an early lunch at this establishment before heading out on our Taylor River rafting trip.

These were pita nachos. Again with the food pictures.

This dog's owners were at the bar having lunch on the patio. It didn't take him too long to figure out he could climb up there, too.

We drove out into Taylor Canyon for our second rafting trip.

A lot of people wore wetsuits on the trip. Chris and I chose not to because it was our hottest day in Colorado so far (in the 80s). We were glad we didn't wear the wetsuits because we were plenty warm, but we were also glad we wore these neoprene booties under our shoes.

Class III rapids, baby! We had a blast.

Taylor Canyon

We ended the day with a huge meal at Maxwell's, the steakhouse in town, followed by cocktails at our favorite CB watering hole, the Forest Queen.
Real whole anchovy on the Caesar salad

I ate almost all of this huge Ribeye. There were mashed potatoes and haricorts verts (green beans, I know this because I minored in French in college) hiding underneath the steak.

Keepin' it real with $4 margaritas at the Forest Queen
The End

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Low Key Day Three

We didn't have any particular plans yesterday, so we decided to just hang out. After lunch in town, we toured the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and Museum. There was a lot of cool stuff there, but I have to admit it was a bit disappointing. It's tucked in a corner of a room full of other museum pieces. I guess I thought given the attitude about mountain biking in the area, it would have a position of a little more prominence. Still, there were some good representations of early mountain bike models, including a couple pieces my husband coveted. It was also interesting to read about the inductees over the years.

After the visit to the museum, we spent the afternoon hanging out by the pool and hot tub at our hotel. Since I didn't bring a bathing suit, I just lounged around and read my book, although I did stick my legs in the hot tub for a minute.
The weather in Colorado has been a bit chillier than I expected. The temps have been hovering somewhere around the high 60s for the duration of our trip so far. I've been taking a hoodie with me most of the places we go and wearing jeans in the evenings. Once the sun goes down it gets really cold. However, it's actually very pleasant in the sun, and the sun has been shining pretty much the whole time we've been here. In fact, we both got a bit of sunburn yesterday afternoon.

While I was reading my book, a couple of hummingbirds flew over to the planter that was right next to my chair. They were fearless. I actually got into my purse and got the camera out and took pictures of them and they stayed there the whole time. It was really cool.
We got cleaned up and went into town to eat at a sushi restaurant called Lil's. It had come to us highly recommended and we were looking forward to eating there. We weren't disappointed, either. We ate and ate and ate. I started out with the best cup of hot and sour soup I've ever had. Then we had an appetizer of scallops wrapped in bacon with some type of a vinaigrette sauce. Next up was sushi. We ordered two kinds—something called cizz, which was salmon and cream cheese with some type of crispy wrapping around the edges and cheese melted on top, and surf and turf, which was beef, rice, lobster and avocado. I was really excited because this is the first sushi I've ever liked, and I've tried several things previously.
My entree was crab cakes. Everything was arranged very beautifully on the plate, and this time, we remembered to take pictures before we started eating. Chris decided to try the elk tenderloin with some kind of cherry reduction. After the meal, feeling overly stuffed, we spent the remainder of the evening at a local bar, the Forest Queen, having cocktails and chatting with the bartender.