Up and over Cottonwood Pass...no snow or ice left anymore...we were above the clouds for awhile...used to be the only time I was above the clouds was in an airplane!
This was Cottonwood Pass back in May:
As we passed south of Taylor Lake reservoir, we had to halt for a cattle drive in progress, this never fails to amuse me and drive Casey insane :-)
Crossing the stream, heading to greener pastures, I guess
After surviving 8 miles of road construction, which consisted of the road being completely torn up, a pilot car to guide the traffic through, and a rather long wait, we made it to the turn-off going to Crested Butte. Sometimes, when I route ourselves to a new place via Microsoft's Streets and Trips, we do end up going an interesting way, and often say to ourselves, are we really supposed to be on this road? Jack's Cabin Cutoff was one of these, but it did get us over to Hwy 135 taking us into Crested Butte, so who are we to question the means??
Crested Butte is a very nice town. Formerly a coal mining town, it is now commonly referred to as "the last great Colorado ski town." Mount Crested Butte a couple miles to the north is the base area for skiers. That's where the obligatory condos and apartments for skiers are. The town is now in a heated battle to save Mount Emmons, the 'Red Lady", from being opened to molybdenum mining...it wishes to maintain the area's distinction as a skier's, biker's outdoor enthusiast's destination, and fear the environmental impact the mining would have the area.
We picked up maps and information at the Festival headquarters, in the library of the high school. There were several wonderful volunteers working there, who would advise yo were to go to see the wildflowers, geared to the level of difficulty you wished to encounter while getting there...no extreme elevation changes and 10 mile hikes for these legs today!We were advised that the wildflowers this year were not extremely prolific, due to the drought conditions existing through most of the west..understandable. She directed us to Kebler Pass and Irwin Lake, saying that the wetland around the lake made for some of the best viewing so far. Makes sense. First, though, it was time for some lunch, so we headed down Elk Avenue, one of the main drags in town, found some parking for the monster truck :-), and took a walk down the avenue.
Many shops had displays that were stops on a garden tour right in town
Even shops not on the tour had pretty displays
On the other side of the fence was patio seating for the deli we stopped at for lunch...Sunflower Deli, they had great panini sandwiches and seating outside in front where we could sit with the dogs. Crested Butte is another dog-friendly town, as is so many places in Colorado. The east coast could take lessons...
Neat tin sculptures in the garden
The road up to Irwin Lake. There's a primitive campground and picnic areas at the lake. We parked in the picnic area parking, and set out on a walk around the lake. The path started out on a road, but that ended at a private residence, so we headed down to a dirt trail right along the edge of the lake, and were able to skirt around the private property
The dogs loved this walk, they got to go in the water a lot!
Beautiful views of the reddish mountains, so different from our chalk cliffs near the campground
View across the lake as we reached the marshy end
Pockets of assorted wildflowers along the way
We followed the creek up...
and found a waterfall! Now, to find a crossing spot...
and find the trail on the other side
beautiful view of the lake from the far end
The trail gets really close to the water here!
As other bloggers are doing, I played with the collage feature of Picasa and made this collage of wildflowers for you to enjoy
A beautiful view of wildflowers leading down to a valley.
It was a long day, we left the campground at 8AM and returned at 8PM. We really enjoyed our day at Crested Butte, the area is very nice, and there's a lot of hiking and biking to be done. I think there may be a return to this area for a longer stay in the future! I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I did taking them!