7/16/22 to 7/20/22
Although this trip is a trip heading North, we decided to make a slight detour to Crested Butte because the wildflowers at this time of year are spectacular. This is our 3rd time to take a trip to Crested Butte at this time of year, and it did not disappoint. Interestingly, in town and near our campsite at Lake Irwin, we felt like the flowers were a little less amazing than normal. Each year varies due to the amount of snow fall and temperatures. The first day we did a hike on the Budd Trail which is in a valley just outside of town. The trail climbs up a hillside through some great Aspen groves and wildflowers.
Unfortunately, it was very hot, and Buddy looked like he was not enjoying the hike and certainly not up for a longer walk. We made our trek a smaller loop and then went into town for a coffee at a super cute coffee shop. The town was packed with tourist, so we retreated back to Lake Irwin to take a dip in the lake and lounge around our campsite.
The following morning, we got up early to head to West Maroon Pass trail. Amazingly on our drive, a bear crossed the road in front of us (which I had secretly wished for). I didn’t have time to get the camera out, but we loved the start of our day. The drive to the trailhead is a bit gnarly on a very narrow and rutted dirt road, but through a stunningly beautiful valley.
We started our hike very early in the morning to beat the heat and were blessed with gorgeous early morning lighting on the most amazing wildflowers we have ever seen. We ended up hiking to Hazely’s Ridge which was about 2.5 miles in and was almost entirely filled with the densest and most abundant varieties of wildflowers. The last time I had done this hike there were wildflowers but mostly areas of a single type of variety whereas this year they were mingled in together like a gorgeous bouquet. We climbed to the top of the ridge and enjoyed breakfast with a magical view.
The afternoon was a relaxing afternoon with a little bit of watercolor painting of some columbines and a dip in the lake. I was trying a new technique that I recently learned on watercolor where I layered the background greens, slowly building up the greens from the lightest to the darkest to create depth.
We packed up at Crested Butte and began our two day drive north to the Driggs Idaho Plein Art competition. Overnight we stopped at Meeker Colorado, a cute little rural town with a fantastic RV parking setup in their Town Park. It was the perfect stop over with all the amenities, as well as a beautiful park, river, and some trails.
Continuing north we deliberated a few different routes and decided to go with the quicker route which was 2 hours faster than the RV route suggested. Well, we found out why. The roads were gorgeous but ended up being two lane roads that at points turned to dirt. It was an adventure but worth it! The variety of terrain that we drove through was amazing and ended up taking us north to Pinedale, Wyoming where we spent the night in a campsite with wide vistas and a great sunset. Next stop is Driggs, Idaho.