My vacation website

Crested Butte 2003


July 4th
This year we had seven people coming on the trip. A couple of late decisions led to us searching for campsites to reserve on the 4th of July and the day after. After going through a dozen campsites on we finally came across two that had space available.

The third annual trip to Crested Butte began later than usual. At 1:30am, we had the Subaru and the 4Runner packed with 2 tents, 7 bikes and the rest of the gear. The main difference this year was that we had top carriers and hitched bike racks so we had alot of space in the trucks for stuff. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that until we finished packing so we didn’t bring our chairs, fishing poles and extras.

At 7pm we arrived at our first campsite, Painted Rocks near Woodland Park, Colorado. After setting up camp we had our first camping dinner, Pizza Hut. The campsite was nothing spectacular, its main landmark were the large red rocks jutting from the ground, hence the painted rocks name.

July 5th
The next morning it was off to Monarch Park campground, This campground was just a stop before our final destination. Home of the famous Monarch Crest trail, this was the only campground with spots available this night on our route. We did not ride this trail because we didn’t want to start the trip on a 30 mile one way trail. This year there wasn’t a fire ban so we were able to build campfires which of course led to grilled everything. Our first real camp dinner consisted of steaks marinaded in mesquite. After the steaks we had some apples which we grilled also with various flavors. Ask Mark about the mesquite green apples.

This year we got more storage on top.

July 6th
The next morning we headed to our final destination, Lost Lake campground, about 18 miles west of Crested Butte. This campground didn’t accept reservations so we were trying to arrive early to get a site.

Luckily, there were two sites available when we got there. This campground was much better than Lake Irwin. The only drawback was that it was10 miles west of Irwin and it was 10 miles of winding dirt road. This site had bike trails leading around the lake and also a waterfall on the other side.

The camp host also warned us of a bear and cub that had been seen across the lake in the early morning. We went to town to shower, get groceries and eat at Cucinas. The campground at night was incredible, we had a ¾ moon that lit up the lake and mountains and the temperature was warm enough to sleep without a sleeping bag. I never thought that there would be a night where I couldn’t fall asleep because the moon was too bright.

July 7th
Finally, it was time to ride! The first trail of the year would be the Dyke Trail. We figured this would be a good break in trail as most of us had already ridden this a few times. We had our first mechanical problem here. JJ’s chain broke during a short uphill. We had 3 chain tools but no spare chains so we had to do a temp. fix. This was the first time we all used a chain tool. The trails this year were very dry, kicking up alot of dust as we flew through it.

Also on this trail, I unveiled the new helmet cam here. This helmet cam consisted of a Canon Elura 50 and an X-Jaket shell bolted to a new helmet. The video from this should be much better as it uses the camcorder lens (plus a wide angle adapter) and has digital image stabilization. Click on the video links to see the video.

During our nighttime dinner we had a mini adventure. One of our neighboring camps could not find their 6 year old boy. It was 9:00pm and getting dark and they were frantically searching the woods yelling his name. We split up into teams of two with radios and flashlights and began walking through the trails in the woods. Let me just say that nighttime hiking with flashlights is pretty scary. Of course, we’re pretty deep into the woods and Mark says to me, “Hey, remember about the bear and the cub.” They eventually found the boy. He had heard everyone yelling his name and got scared. So he snuck back into camp and hid in their tent.

July 8th

For the second ride, it was the 401 trail again. Again, it started with a long climb on the road to the trailhead and then a long climb to the top. On the road we had our second chain break. This time it was on Paul’s bike. Then at the very top, we had our third chain break, on my bike. My chain broke in two places but luckily, we were at the top of the trail so we temporarily fixed it and continued onto the downhill. We got very good at fixing chains. The weather was great for the 401. There was not a cloud in site, it was sunny and about 75 degrees. Since we were sick of washing dishes, we decided that the rest of the vacation, we would eat food that would minimize washing. So that meant hotdogs and hamburgers on paper plates, grilled over the campfire. At the top, we did tried our first ‘Matrix style’ photos in an attempt to show everyone else what the scenery was like.

July 9th
We had originally planned to do Teocalli Ridge today, but some wanted an easier trail to relax and rest. Initially, me and JJ were going to ride Teocalli ourselves, but the long road to the trailhead and the fact that we forgot to bring a bike pump dashed our plans. So we returned to Strand Hill where everyone else was planning to ride. Unfortunately, 100 feet into the ride, my chain broke again. This time we saw that my derailleur hanger was bent and cracked so it was the end of riding for my bike. The rest of the guys rode Strand Hill, while me and Mark headed back into town to shower and eat. Strand Hill was described to me as a mini 401 trail. Again, a long climb, but wellworth it for the downhill.

July 10th
We were thinking about riding Deer Creek today, but the drive to the trailhead on a dusty 4WD road at 5mph did not sound appealing. We stopped in at the Alpineer to ask if the 403 trail was open, and it was! Driving to the trailhead of the 403 was an adventure in itself. It was a long upward climb avoided rutted, holes and other SUVs. The top of the trailhead was almost 11,000ft. John and Rex weren’t riding so they would pick us up at the bottom of the trail. According to the maps, the 403 should have been all downhill from here, but it turned out to be uphill until about 11,400ft. At this point, we had a great view of the mountains. We rested, took some pictures and then went onward to the downhill. This trail wasn’t as long as the 401, and it mostly went through the trees, but it was a very fun trail to ride. It wasn’t too steep or too technical, it felt just about right.

July 11th

Well it was time to pack up the tents and leave for home. This trip seemed pretty long. Maybe it was the seven straight nights of camping, but we were ready to head home. But first, we had to stop and eat at the chinese restaurant in Eagle, CO. We have stopped here on the way back the last two times, and they actually remembered us! On Saturday morning we arrived home and only another 355 days until we go back!

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