Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Soaring peaks, Flap, and the totem pole

A slightly calmer week has ensued. We've been busy with all the necessary errands and chores that annoying interfere with fun. Still lots of great summer happening and lots of family visiting in a few weeks. Yippee.

The head gate
Mark discovered beavers are trying to build a dam at the head gate. A reminder that the head gate is on the creek and controls water flow over our common ground. It's partially open now to direct flow to the trout pond. One of our neighbors volunteered to go out and break up the dam but I don't think this is the end of it. Apparently this has been an ongoing problem over the years and sometimes the beavers have to be trapped. That should be interesting.

We did a little jeeping over Paradise Divide over the weekend. There was also an intended hike to Yule Pass but a washout stopped us. Were we super motivated, probably not, so just as happy to jeep and have lunch in town.

Little bit of Crested Butte trivia. The above photo is of the famous totem pole created in 1973 by artists with chain saws in 4 days on the streets at the then called People's Fair.A backhoe was used to jam it in the ground and there it's stood for 40 years at the aptly named Totem Pole Park. People in the streets, live music,some chanting and ranting caused a wild enough affair that they took a year off and then remade the event into the more sedate version that continues to this day.

Haying has started, we've finally seen two fawns- really late for that. Different every year. Flap has been visiting our yard a lot and taking a little siesta under our deck in the dark shady space. She's our pet deer or we're her pet people, not sure which.
Dinner at Blue Mesa Grill with friends was lots of fun and good food. Nice to have a new alternative in town.. Wonder how the chef is handling the major transition of moving from Manhattan to little 'ol western town Gunnison. He may run screaming out of here after experiencing the first winter. Hope not...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Handie's Peak and moose

This post is dedicated to our 14er climb. It is was hard, fantastic, breathtaking, and very tiring all at once.
Handie's Peak 14,058. Yippee! We actually ended up going 6.5 miles instead of 5 since we parked the jeep a lot further away than the real parking lot and had to hike it. Very sad at the end having to hike that extra bit. Oh, well.

Hiked through 3 streams going up (and those 3 coming down) and sloshed through 5 snow banks (and those coming down). Met people going up and down, but not at all the giant crowd we were lead to believe would be there.

Stopped at Sloan Lake on the way up. Supposed to have native trout but Mark saw nary a rise. We hit every kind of surface from small rock, big rock, snow, mud, but the trail was well marked - no chance of getting lost.

Marmot city. Really, hundreds of them all up and down the entire way. They just weren't up on the tiny summit.

The flowers were at peak and I will tell you we've never seen anything like this. Fields and fields of every kind imaginable, including columbines, thousands of them. Stunning indeed.

Sloan lake from waaay above
We huffed and puffed a bit to get to the summit and I was surprised at how small it was. Apparently they mostly all are. Wow, it's a lonngg way down. Two young guys had sprinted past us and were up at the top when we finally got there. We exchanged photos and had a nice conversation. This was their 3rd 14er of the day, it was their day off, and they were rafting guides on the Arkansas. Hey, you guys will not steal our thunder. We did it!!

Last but not least, is the moose sighting. Our first one. A day of firsts it seems. She's last, but actually we saw her on the drive up to the mountain. Yes, she has a collar, biologists. The females weigh close to 900 lbs (males 1300).
We are a little stiff today but in remarkably good shape considering. Member's of the 14er club now!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer fun extraordinare

Ok, Monday is it for the big hiking plan,  and I must admit to a little apprehension. Our first 14er! We're making preparations as we speak- giant quantities of water, first aid kit, sunscreen, energy bars, energy chews, rapid energy gel pack. Good God, you'd think we were going to climb Mt. Everest... Leaving the house by 6am to allow enough time to get there to start around 8:30am to summit Handies before noon. Important as you do NOT want to be up there if afternoon thunderstorms come in.

up close to the top weather station? 
next to the weather station - what is it?
Last warm up hike done yesterday. Snodgrass which we did part way a couple months ago. This time made it to the top, 1400" vertical, 6 miles rt, and 11,145 at the peak. I sound so techie, don't I.
Flowers are peak around CB right now. Absolutely stunning, fields and fields of flowers. We saw every kind of group from mountain bikers to families with toddlers and dogs. Fresh bear scat at the top too, happily no bear.

Deer everywhere and a ton more bucks than last year, but no fawn sightings yet. Not sure what that means.

fairy slipper orchid
mariposa lily
Some lovely not all that usual flower sightings. The fairy slipper orchid was on the banks of the Taylor and the mariposa lily are all over our front yard.

Finally have made it to Almont Resort restaurant for a meal. It's been around since the late 1800's. Can't imagine why I haven't gone before but Mark took me there for lunch. Food was good, I'll be back.

Fishing report: good, although Taylor still a little high and difficult to wade. Mark caught some small brookies and browns from "our" creek to put in the trout pond hoping these might reproduce (as our stocked group will not).

Lots of people doing all kinds of activities. Some a little stranger than others... Enjoy and enjoy...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hiking, fish,hummingbirds, and summer beauty

Flash, flash goes the summer, whiz, whiz goes the time. Enjoying the magnificence. Weather's been great and in the "monsoon" season of afternoon rain showers most days. Good for all things.

Big animal sightings, although sadly I was not the witness. Neighbors saw a moose! on Ohio Pass, and another neighbor a large bear on their side of Star Mt. I've got eyes peeled and camera ready.

Naughty Flap
On other animal news, Flap has been wandering around the house, how nice I thought, until I realized she ate 95% of my almost ready to bloom daylily buds. Sadness, as it was going to be a big show this year. At least she can't reach my hanging baskets.

Questions have arisen on the crazy Rufus variety of hummingbird. They come a month later than other varieties, and leave first (late August)and are wildly aggressive,rust orange in color, and take over the feeders. Oh, can't we all just get alonggggggg.

The stocked trout pond is now being used and the first phase of the creek restoration just about complete. A wonderful transformation for sure. Mark is still feeding those fish (in the pond) and catching loads, throwing all back, but then it seemed we should actually keep and eat a couple. Completely what the pond is for, in contrast to the creek (trying to keep that catch and release). This baby was 16" long and really really fat. Fed the two of us and was yummy.

CB is really busy with all our vacationers. Festivals happen every week and we dodge in and out to visit the farmer's market and eat lunch or dinner here and there. Local cherries happening now which I love, next Palisades peaches. And I hasten to say, "local" means not exactly right here - Hotchkiss or Paonia that is.

Hikes continue, and what was a quick walk through the woods has become a hike around Star Mt. and Carbon Cr. Trivia for you, our highest point neighbor on the "other side" is 2.5 miles away from us. Crazy right, we can actually have different weather patterns happening. We are 5 or 6 miles a trip now and gulp, getting closer to scheduling the 14,000 ft climb. Which is 5 miles round trip, just 2,000 vertical UP.