Summer in Colorado is truly a magical thing. Being from the east coast I often get asked if I miss the ocean, being close to the water. I can honestly say, with 100% certainty that I do not. Don’t get me wrong, the beach is absolutely wonderful. But living somewhere that in several short hours you can be surrounded by 14,000 foot mountains, jagged peaks that pierce the bluebird sky, with miles and miles of trails to explore and views for days, well that is a true gift I have not taken for granted since moving here in the winter of 2014.
So, when a group of friends threw out an email a few weeks back about camping in Crested Butte, we were in. Crested Butte is a small mountain town south west of Denver, about 4 ½ hours from our house. A bit far for a weekend getaway, so I took Friday off from work and we set off late Thursday evening towards Oh Be Joyful Campground, just several miles from the town of Crested Butte. Driving west, before we hit Monarch pass, we decided to take a pit stop at one of our favorite breweries, Elevation. There happy hour was amazing: $1.50 off drafts! We stayed for only one, but it helped break up the trip and get us recharged for a great weekend!
We rolled into the town of Crested Butte around 7:00pm, stopped in the cute little town to grab some beer, then headed to Oh Be Joyful Campground. Our two girlfriends had gotten there hours earlier to set up the tent area – what a treat that was to roll up into the site and have the area established! There would be 18 campers total throughout the weekend, so it looked like a small village with several tents having been set up by Stacia and Amanda. A beautiful spot right next to the Slate River was wide open, so we set up our tent and joined the ladies around the fire.
There is something truly special about enjoying a campfire with friends. I had prepped mason jar ramen, so dinner was uber easy. I marinated tofu & onions in amino acids, then put them in a foil pack. I prepped mason jars full of ramen noodles, basil, garlic, then boiled some water & veggie broth & poured it in. Delicious & so easy!
The next day, we woke up to a gorgeous Colorado morning, started a fire and had some breakfast. The spot we had was absolutely gorgeous, next to a creek, so we soaked it up and reveled in the gorgeousness.
Coffee never tasted so good! And the breakfast burritos I had pre-made at home (sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, daiya cheese, tofu scramble) hit the spot!
The day stretched before us and I couldn’t wait to get into it! On Friday, we decided to split up – boys would head out to mountain bike and the girls and the dogs would go hike the oh be joyful trail. The trail head was about 1/4 mile from our campsite, with just a small river crossing to wade through. So, we rolled up our yoga pants, took off our shoes, and headed on through. The current was surprisingly strong!
The Oh Be Joyful Trail started off with a pretty steep climb. Since my ACL surgery on April 4, big hikes have been out of the question, as it’s still in healing mode, so even though this hike was over 16 miles, we committed to 6 miles. Wildflowers, waterfalls, mountains. Oh, this was quite the joyful trail indeed!
Our 6.5 mile hike ended up being absolutely perfect, with a bit of everything, including a rest under some fir trees while Amanda sketched the waterfall in the distance. It was a truly lovely afternoon. The guys met us back at camp, then we all headed into the town of Crested Butte to get some drinks at the Crested Butte Public house to cap off the perfect day.
The next day’s dawn broke and we had bikes on the brain! Three of us ladies were on the same biking level – with my ACL surgery, I had to take it easy, and the other two ladies were fiercely ready, but definitely ready for a beginner trail. We suited up, threw our helmets on, and grabbed our trustee steads.
The first trail we hit was up the road from the campground we were staying at (Oh Be Joyful) so we headed to the Lower Loop trail. Nature has never been so vibrant! Wildflowers were everywhere and as we wheeled down the trails, the mountain views almost made me fall of the trail!
The lower loop was magnificent, so much so that we headed towered the upper lower loop, which had absolutely breathtaking views. A perfect blend of up hill, flowy goodness. The girls and I killed the trails and we were psyched to head back to camp to share the tale of the trails. The gang was all there, back from their adventures, and the cornhole was pulled out and the games began. After a few games, we all decided to go to Meridian Lake, an alpine lake up a steep mile trail, where a large lake stretched out before us, and a large sandy beach covered with beach go-ers that led into the lake. Beers were cracked, toes were dipped, and some of the boys even swam to the other side. I’ve never had such a fun time at an alpine lake!
After diving in the icy lake, we headed back to the campsite to change for a night in town. Heading to town, we ended up getting a frosty beverage at The Dogwood Cabin, then heading to grab pizza at The Secret Stash. Beautiful evening with friends followed by a fabulous sunset.
Sunday morning, we packed up camp, some people took off, heading back to Denver, and I headed toward the Lower Upper Loop trail, taking it all the way to town.
The views were just as great as they were the other day and the permanent smile painted on my face held all the way to the main streets of Crested Butte. It was glorious! The rest of the afternoon was spent at the Crested Butte Heritage Museum, getting a download of the start of the town, the biking history that began there, and the amazing history that happened in this awesome mountain town. After the history lesson, I met the guys at the Public House for a beer before we too took off for home. Another amazing mountain escape in the books!