Colorado Adventure Series - Crested Butte

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A couple of weeks ago, friends of ours from Wisconsin contacted us and asked if we wanted to spend some time with them in Crested Butte. They have a condo there that they were going to be visiting, and we decided it would be fun to check it out. I have to say, I’m glad we did.

Crested Butte is quite a long drive from our home. At about 4.5 hours, it’s by far the furthest we’ve traveled for this summer’s adventures, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out. It was supposed to be a nice place with a good sized and under attended ski hill. So why not!??!

We didn’t get to leave our home until 5:30 on Friday as we had to wait for Ethan’s soccer practice to complete. By the time we got to Buena Vista, 2+ hours into the trip, it was pretty dark, so we didn’t get to see much in the line of scenery. We arrived in town by 10:30 or so after a quick stop for supper and we mainly had a couple of beers and went to sleep. It bears noting that it was perhaps one of the most spectacular views of the night sky that I’ve seen in quite awhile. Light pollution is low out here!

In the morning it was cool, about 40 degrees, but the, view in the light was breathtaking. Mountains all around with a quiet mountain stream. We started with a quick car tour of the town, which was small but pretty.

A Dragon and Knight guard the entrance to the town

Quinton and Mac slay the dragon

After a quick drive through town which lasted at least 3 minutes, we headed up to the ski hill, Mount Crested Butte. While the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it was a very nicely constructed little ski area, complete with quad lifts, mountain bike terrain, and a little commercial “village” area for drinks, food, and shopping.

Ethan approved

We bought some Mountain Adventure Passes and took the ski lift to the top of the hill where we would start our hike, a 2 hour jaunt to the bottom of the mountain. I was surprised by how rocky the mountain is when there is no snow on it! It was also interesting to see how high the chair lifts are off the ground. Both indications of just how much snow is on the mountain when skiers take to it.

Top of the chair lift

Jenny and Quinton are ready for our hike

Mireille is ready as always

One of the spectacular views

Crested Butte from the top of the mountain

The terrain was rocky but at least downhill

A handsome family, to be sure

More beautiful views

Scary wildlife

I Heart Jenny

Mireille clearly excited to Jump!

That's Better!

After our hike and adventure time, we headed into town to Secret Stash Pizza in historic downtown Crested Butte. I’m not exaggerating when I say it is probably the best non-Chicago style pizza I’ve eaten. It may have had something to do with how tired we were and how little we’d eaten before… It was really good, and the atmosphere was very cool in a Colorado pot-head kind of way!

Secret Stash Pizza

Sadly, not all was happy in Crested Butte. I tried to go into the town brewery, Eldo Brewery, for a beer - Ethan drove me as is our custom. We walked into the place and felt immediately out of place. It looked like an old 80’s era bowling alley dive bar, and didn’t smell much better. I opted to stay away from trying a beer and instead went across the street to the distillery (Montanya Distillery) and bought a bottle of rum. Next time you stop by we will try it together (you, dear reader).

Eldo Brewery

We did the drive back during daylight and took the alternate route over Cottonwood Pass. Wow. About 20 miles of the road was not paved and would up the side of a mountain, but the views were fantastic.

Taylor Park Reservoir

Taylor Park Reservoir

The road from the top of Cottonwood Pass

It was a fun, but short trip. We definitely want to get back out to Crested Butte a few times, both in the summer and winter. I’m sure I will bore you more once that happens!

Bonus pic! Mireille reading to a bear

Written by Brandon Grady
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