Crested Butte, Colorado
July 2-15, 2018
Crested Butte was 12 days worth of boondocking in an idyllic mountain meadow, reveling in wildflowers, hummingbirds, and friends.
I mean, it wasn’t all grand theatrical numbers from The Sound of Music. There were also rainy days of cabin fever, bad attitudes about finishing up our school year, and as Coral so eloquently put it, occasional “waves of nausea”. But those aren’t the things we take pictures of or try our best to remember. I’ll tell you all about the good stuff instead.
We came to this destination because our friends, Tom & Andrea, invited us to meet them here. We met this super cool full-time traveling couple in summer 2017 in the Tetons. We’ve kept in touch since and were delighted to find an opportunity in our itineraries to cross paths again.
By the time we arrived in the meadow, they had already been there long enough to know the lay of the land, so they rolled out the welcome mat for us and showed us around. We went on a few hikes, in constant awe of the carpet of brilliant wildflowers all around us.
We visited the Colorado Biological Institute in the tiny village of Gothic. And we enjoyed a long Jeep ride up into the mountains, searching for moose but never finding them, hiking until nearby lightning encouraged us to return to our vehicle. We also enjoyed some of the luxuries that the small, crunchy, mountain town of Crested Butte had to offer, such as the Third Bowl Ice Cream shop, their ultra-funky Independence Day Parade, and the farmers market that was so overpriced we couldn’t buy anything. We got our money’s worth out of the tiny Old Rock Library, where visitor’s cards imposed neither deposits nor check-out restrictions.The girls really bonded with Andrea on this visit, who soaked up their attention happily since she has kids & grandkids to miss while she’s on the road.
Jeep fun in the mountains!
After Tom & Andrea had to depart for their next destination, we decided to stay in Crested Butte another week. We weren’t confident that we would find another place just as beautiful where we could camp for free and have fantastic cell service.
Afternoon thunderstorms rolled overhead most afternoons. I suppose that’s what you get for living up in the clouds; our meadow campsite was at 9,700 ft. One afternoon the lightning strikes were landing especially close. One bolt struck so nearby that at first we thought the camper had been struck – a deafening crack shook us at the same moment that a blinding light lit up the whole world around us. At first we wondered if Stumbo had been struck, but there was no damage to rig or persons. We all had racing heart rates for a long while afterwards, but otherwise were no worse for wear. Over the next few days, we kept our eyes peeled in the meadow for where the bolt might have stuck. We noticed a large tree down the hill from our site with a giant section broken off, and we wondered if this nearby tree was the recipient of the electricity that shook us up. Coral and I walked down the hill to investigate one day. The tree damage was old; grass and weeds were already growing up around the broken branches which had clearly been laying in this space for a long time. So we did not ever end up figuring out where the bolt touched the Earth, but searching for it led us to something even better….fantastic new friends!
Little did we know at the time that the lightning bolt that shocked us all into adrenaline rush would ultimately lead us to meeting this sweet family.
So AGAIN, we spent an amazing few days connecting with these great people, knowing full well that our sweet time together would be so brief. As we’ve journeyed across the states for nearly 2 years now, I continue to oscillate between feelings of “I don’t know my country anymore…I’m not like these people and I don’t fit in here” to “there are amazing people to connect with everywhere we go, and this is exactly the place where I belong.”
I’ll figure that conundrum out another day…in the meantime, I’m so grateful to have once again bumped into sweet kindred spirits, for another chance for our girls to play and giggle and share toys with new friends, and to once again walk through the excruciating “goodbye” to people with whom we’ve not yet fully explored a potential relationship, hoping that we will someday meet again.