Surprise Road Trip: Crested Butte

Early this summer, Anthony mentioned that there was a place in Colorado that he really wanted me to visit with him, and prepared me early for a “surprise road trip.” Luckily he knows how much I like surprises, and knew I would be game. Plus, as I’ve said before, whenever I get the chance to have a getaway without doing any of the planning, and get to turn off my type-A control-freak personality, I love it.

So, a couple weeks ago we found ourselves with an open weekend, and set off into — where else? — the mountains. Of course, I knew our journey would take us somewhere west, as it had to be driveable and Mr. York just can’t get enough of those gorgeous Rockies.

We departed early on a Saturday morning, and Anthony was happy to let me resume my normal position of curled up against the window, fast asleep, while he transported us to our mystery destination. I woke up somewhere around Buena Vista, where I was greeted with a familiar sight of morning sun coming over the Collegiate Peaks — a set of mountains that we have passed (and even climbed!) during many a road trip.

But, we continued on and I knew Buena Vista was not our final destination. Would it be Montrose — the place of Anthony’s birth and a city he took me to not long after we moved to Colorado? No, Anthony insisted it was somewhere I’d never been.

As we passed through the small town of Gunnison, Anthony tried to distract me as he made a crucial right turn — covered in signs pointing to Crested Butte. Mystery solved. But, of course, you already knew this due to my not-so-mysterious post title!

Crested Butte

Crested Butte

Anthony had visited Crested Butte during some time off on his own last summer, and had been raving about the small mountain town ever since. Luckily, it did not disappoint! In fact, walking along among the cute cottages and personality-filled main street, this did feel like my kind of town. Not only were the views gorgeous in every direction, it seemed to be a cruiser bike riders dream. All around the town were adorable bikes — old and new, mostly cruisers — either in action riding down the street, or propped up against lock-less bike racks. With wildflowers in full, vibrant bloom and a beautiful sunny day, with locals greeting each other at every turn, it was almost impossible to resist the urge to whistle a Disney-friendly tune while exploring the quaint town.

Main Street

Main Street

So many beautiful bikes

So many beautiful bikes

Random handmade benches like these were all over

Random handmade benches like these were all over

After covering all of the “downtown” area, we headed off to the ski resort to see Crested Butte’s big ticket item. Even in the summer, there were plenty of outdoor enthusiasts making use of the ski resort, as they (like several other resorts) use it as a mountain biking course during the summer. That’s right: More bikes! Bikers loaded their rides to the back of the ski lifts and then took advantage of a no-doubt exhilarating descent down the ski runs. You can bet we’ll make it back out for this kind of activity next time.

photo 2

But, for this time, we instead opted to head to a nearby lake to set up camp. The site wasn’t our typical camping style, as it was mostly filled with motor homes and the sites were very close together, but the scenery was beautiful and we didn’t plan on spending too much time by the tent. We did hope to enjoy a bonfire later that evening, after we were pleased to hear that the fire bans had been lifted recently.

View from the camp site

View from the camp site

Anthony and his buddy Olive

Olive and her buddy, Anthony

Baby deer!

Baby deer!

So, after setting up our tent, we headed back into town and grabbed dinner and some margaritas in town. Just as we were finishing our dinner, however, the rain came in. We were happy to see it, after spending quite a few dry weeks back home, and were comforted by the fact that in Colorado, showers never last too long.

Not in Crested Butte, apparently.

Rain moving in

Rain moving in

For some reason, this time the rainbow appeared at the beginning of the storm

For some reason, this time the rainbow appeared at the beginning of the storm

We tried to wait out the rain by having another round of margaritas, but it was showing no signs of letting up at all. So, we conceded that our campfire wouldn’t be happening tonight, and looked around for more to do in the sweet little mountain town. So, we stumbled upon a band playing at the local distillery, and caught some small-town live music before we decided that we might as well head back to our soaked camp.

And soaked it was! Luckily, our tent held up fine against the rain, and we were content to hunker down into our sleeping bags and enjoy the falling rain together. There’s something uniquely peaceful about rain falling on the tent above you as all that’s between you and the downpour is a thin piece of canvas.

However, I don’t know if it was the margaritas, the altitude or the weather (likely a combination of all three), but that sound ceased to be peaceful mid-morning, when we were both still awake, wondering why the blasted rain wouldn’t stop.

Olive tossed and turned as much as we did

Olive tossed and turned as much as we did

We got a good (exhausted) laugh out of it in the morning, and once again, had to give in to the fact that Colorado’s dry track record did not apply to that weekend in Crested Butte, and the rain was still coming down. Unfortunately, the mountain hike that Anthony had planned was just not sounding appealing at this point, and we decided to just make the drive back home. But despite the rain, and the somewhat sleepless night, I will certainly look back on this trip with a smile! I am so glad that Anthony surprised me with a town he knew I would instantly fall in love with (I checked out real estate prices — sadly they’re not in our range!), and I have no doubt we will be back.

photo 5

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