The area north of Crested Butte is famous for its beautiful vistas, wildflowers and amazing trails. After a stormy arrival on Monday night, we arrived to a beautiful sunrise (Bruno provides us with a complimentary sunrise alarm clock) and some cold weather. The frost was evident everywhere, so we bundled up, enjoyed our morning coffee and waited for the sun to start warming things up before venturing too far outdoors.
Our site provided Bruno with ample play space, and we took advantage of this as we prepared for the hike that Robin had planned for us. This hike took us down (up, then down, actually) Rustler’s Gulch Trail toward an old abandoned mining site and some waterfalls.
After this five hour adventure, we enjoyed some relax time, although Bruno still wanted to play more, as usual.
The second evening was much nicer than the first and we had a chance to sit outside and enjoy the diminishing daylight before moving into Clifford for the night.
We had decided to head out toward Telluride on Wednesday, but before packing up and saying goodbye to Crested Butte, Robin went and rode the famous 401 trail while I had a nice relaxing morning playing with Bruno and getting Clifford ready for another move.
We stopped in the town of Crested Butte for a little tourist walk, searched for food for Bruno and even had lunch at a restaurant. How civilized!
Our tourist stop had take a bit of time, so by the time we headed out from Crested Butte toward Gunnison we realized that the drive to Telluride would mean an arrival time much later than we prefer. This, we quickly searched out a quick and easy one night stay outside of Ouray at the local KOA. Not our thing, but an easy in and out, not to mention hot showers are nice…
After dispersed camping where you really have no boundaries and very few rules, being at the KOA felt restrictive.
Bruno was not super excited about spending time on his leash, nor was he happy to have no free roam exploration rights. However, once nighttime set and we all got indoors in the cozy comfort of Clifford, it all felt right again.
In the morning, we packed up quickly and headed to Telluride. Another beautiful drive and some sub 20mph climbing, we arrived in Telluride. The view through the town was postcard picturesque and we spent a little time walking in town to stretch out legs and play tourist.
Our camping destination was the area of Alta Lakes, only a short drive from Telluride, Robin and done some research and the site looked promising. Remote, high altitude lakes, a ghost town and lots of camping opportunities.
The last part of the drive was a 4 mile climb on a steep switchback littered forestry road. Clifford chose to do most of the climb in first gear, until the last section where first gear wasn’t low enough (or Clifford’s power wasn’t quite sufficient) and we had to retreat very slowly backwards to the previous plateau and rethink our strategy. We ended up not attempting this last bit of the climb again and chose to camp about 500m away from the lakes in the midst of the ghost town of Alta.
Alta is historically significant as this is where George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla first experimented with the use of alternating current in a commercial operation.
More trails and beautiful scenery, albeit very different from the open vistas of Crested Butte. Bruno gave the lakes two paws up! We explored around the ghost town, but stayed clear of going indoors to the few buildings that are still standing fully intact.