Sunday, January 3, 2010

Paradise Found

I've been on some pretty cool vacations in my life. I've been to the UK three times and have taken incredible trips to Maine and Alaska. And of course, there's Key West, which is undoubtedly my favorite place to let my hair down. Those were all fantastic trips, but I have never been anywhere like Crested Butte, where I feel like I truly belong.

The thought of moving away is certainly scary. As I've said before, I've lived pretty much within 75 miles or so of where I grew up my whole life. I don't like the idea of leaving my family and friends, but I just feel so much at peace here. I can't explain it. This is just the life I want.

Sure it's cold here, and there's quite a bit of snow, but yesterday, I found out just how much fun that winter lifestyle can be.

It was stormy when we left the hotel to go get some lunch. (I know this photo is out of focus, but it's the only one I took of the snow.)

We had lunch at a place I have been meaning to try. It's called The Secret Stash. It's a favorite with the locals and is famous for its pizza, although it also has other interesting things on the menu, like alcoholic snow cones.

The atmosphere is kind of quirky, eclectic eastern, the music is soothing and the wait staff is extemely friendly. They have two pages of specialty pizzas, both meat and veggie. I talked Chris into one called New Potato Caboose. He was a bit skeptical about potatoes on a pizza, but I had had them before and convinced him it would be great. It was potato pieces, sauce, cheddar cheese, scallions and sour cream. Delicious!

After lunch, it was still storming, so we went back to the hotel for a bit to take a nap and see if visibility improved. A couple hours later, blue skies had returned, so we headed over to the Nordic Center to rent snowshoes and poles. I thought the trip was going to be a bust when we used up about all our energy putting the snowshoes on, but we recovered. We headed up a road behind the Nordic Center. The views from the ridge were quite spectacular.
We headed up the Green Lake Trail, where more views, quite a bit of climbing and lots of aspens awaited us. (Have I mentioned I love aspens?) I had never used poles before; I don't use them with my snowshoes at home, but I soon found out why we needed them.
We were out for a couple hours. As we headed back down the mountain, the sun was starting to sink and the colors in the sky were beautiful.
We then decided to pay another visit to the Forest Queen, where we met up with Steve, the owner. He asked us to go to dinner with him and took us to a place called Slogar. The food was family-style fried chicken dinner, complete with cottage cheese, tomato chutney, corn, biscuits and mashed potatoes and gravy. There was also an interesting relish tray with carrots, celery, pickled pear slices and (best of all) bread and butter pickles. It also came with ice cream, but we were all too stuffed to eat it.
We finished off the evening at the Forest Queen watching the Alamo Bowl. Interestingly enough, we were sitting at the bar with one MSU grad, one current MSU student and a Texas Tech grad. It was all very civilized, though. The drinks were flowing and Chris and I led the group in several renditions of "On the Banks of the Red Cedar."
The sun is shining again today and we have more adventure on the agenda. Stay tuned.


Jake said...

I am so jealous.

Di said...

Moving is very scary, but at least you have someone to move with. ;-)

I just applied for a job out in Colorado, one in Oregon, and one in Idaho. I'm in the process of applying for a Montana job. Heck, I might even go for an interview for a Michigan job! We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like life don't get any better.Great photos and "Happy Birthday" tomorrow. Hope I spelled tomorrow right...DG

Ali B. said...

Happy early birthday. Great photos... love the sun and snow shots. We simply have snow. Snow. more snow. peeks of blue sky and more snow. :)