Back in October, I wrote that “if nature is my religion, then I’ve been in church all week” when speaking of my then recent trip to Crested Butte, CO and Maroon Bells S.P. in Aspen, CO. Spending time in these beautiful natural landscapes is like a religious experience and every trip is like a pilgrimage to my mecca – Mother Nature to the highest power.
Now, I’ve never been to Denali or have visited Alaska for that matter and perhaps I’ll think differently once I do. For now, this area goes down in my book as my favorite place in the world. And sure, there’s more to it than that: the small, communal town is beaming with artists, photographers, eco-friendly folks who ride their cruiser bikes everywhere. And the food is incredible, the air not pretentious in the slight and the activities and spirit of this place is unending. We will make this home some day.
We come every year to Crested Butte for the fall foliage, but never have we visited in the summer. As if this place couldn’t get any better (did I mention that a couple miles away is a well-known ski resort and this place gets like an insane amount of snow in the winter!), CB (as the locals call it) also boasts the proud title of being the wildflower capital of Colorado. We’ve always wanted to come up for the Wildflower Festival, so this year, we made good on that wish and came out for a few days.
We arrived on Sunday, crashed at our favorite lodge with gorgeous views and walked into town for dinner. Most restaurants have patio dining, so we enjoyed our Thai food under a cool umbrella, enjoying the sweet breezes followed by a bike ride around town.
There are hundreds of old, vintage cruisers all over town and most lodges/inns offer their guests free use of their bikes; our place was no exception. Riding these old school bikes that brake only when you pedal backwards was very reminiscent of the huffy bikes of our youth. We sped around as if we were kids with tassels on our handlebars and cards in our spokes, weaving through the streets with legs outstretched. We looked and felt like careless kids again.
During the week of the Wildflower Festival, you can sign up for photography classes and local photographers will take you to some of the best wildflower sites around town. I signed up for the Wildflower landscapes class for Monday and the 4×4 Jeep adventure photography class for Tuesday. As you can image, I was pumped.
Monday morning was the first class and although the class wasn’t instructional, more of a “this-is-a-great-wildflower-field-have-at-it” type of class, I was still happy to be knee to waist-deep in lupines, monuments, cow parsley, and daisies. Throughout this post, you’ll see shots from that class (I’ll save pics from today’s class for tomorrow’s post!).
After class, lunch and a leisure stop at the coffee shop/bookstore, we decided to take a road unknown to us to see where it would lead. We had no idea that it would take us on a treacherous 30 mile, 2,000+ feet climb, 4 hour tour. Since we thought we were taking a leisure ride through the “hills”, we had no idea what we were getting into and didn’t have anything packed. Thus we had no water, no food, no cell, no maps (um, were we looking to be featured on a Discovery Channel documentary of “How I Survived?”). Luckily, once we got to the peak of Paradise Divide at 11,000+ feet and saw regular cars camping up top, we knew the ride down would be much easier and it was. And the views? Worth the perilous journey.
However, next time we decide to play the “what-would-happen-if-we-took-this-road?” game out in the big country, we’ll remember to pack accordingly. Lesson learned.
Enjoy the scenery and check back tomorrow for more shots!