Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jeep Trekking - Crested Butte

Jeep looking well used after 1-1/2 days of back road trekking adventures
I wish we were more like the numerous blogs listed under the "Blogs We Love" button at the top of our page and were disciplined, predictable bloggers. But, while we are future full-timers, I will use work as my excuse for why we don't always blog chronologically or timely. But, nonetheless - enjoy this blog about our jeep trekking in early July around Crested Butte, Colorado.

Greg (on left) and his parents enjoying smores 'round the campfire
Greg's parents also live in Los Alamos. They moved here after we did to be closer to us. We share a love of camping. They have a Pleasure-Way camper van. They are now in the stage of life where driving more than 3 or 4 hours in a day is just a little too much for them. So, the four of us planned a 10-day joint adventure. Greg drove his Mom and her dog Jack in the Pleasure-Way and I drove Greg's Dad in our NV Van Camper. We started our adventure on the 4th of July. We drove to Crested Butte, Ridgway, Ouray, Durango and then back home to Los Alamos.

One of our plans was to rent a jeep and drive some of the beautiful backroads around Crested Butte. We timed our trip to be close to the peak of the wildflower bloom. We hit is right on. We stayed near  Almont, Colorado at One Mile Campground on Forest Road 742. We had a jeep reservation so Greg and I got up early and drove to Gunnison to pickup the jeep. Things didn't go well at the start. First, the person who was to meet us didn't show up until 1-1/2 hours after our set meeting time. We arranged to keep the jeep overnight and were on our way. Or so we thought. . .

After driving back to the campground, getting Greg's folks, the dog and our picnic stuff loaded into the jeep - Greg tried to start the Jeep. Nothing. Are you kidding me? Greg fiddled with the battery and battery cables. Nothing. We called the Jeep company.

The owner was very helpful. She and her husband drove out to our campsite and he worked on the Jeep. In the end, he put the battery from his car into our Jeep. We jumped the old batter and he drove somewhere to get himself a new battery. We were finally on our way about 2 p.m. It was too late to go to Gothic Road so we decided to check out Tin Cup. Our camp host told us about Taylor Park Reservoir and the little town of Tin Cup.

Picnic at Taylor Park Reservoir

A small portion of Taylor Park Reservoir

Mining town of Tin Cup
At the historic Tin Cup Cemetery. Folks are segregated by religion

Beyond the specific religion knolls - there is also a Boot Hill section

If you like historical cemeteries - this is a beautiful forested spot

After Tin Cup, we drove up Forest Road 267 to Mirror Lake

A jeep is definitely on our shopping list for the future 

We saw a number of great boondocking sites in the area between Tin Cup and Taylor Park Reservoir.
We also drove through Lakeview Campground (forest service) with amazing lake views.  

The second day, we headed through Crested Butte, past the ski resort to Gothic Road. The flowers were so vivid and beautiful! We stopped and took pictures along the way.

Gothic biological lab was founded in 1928
As we passed the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, we came to a Subaru that was stuck in a large wash filled with mud and water. When they saw our jeep, they ran over to see if we could help. The jeep we rented had a winch, but no obvious way to operate it. We all searched and finally found the device that plugs in and runs the winch. We were able to pull them out and then decided to turnaround and go up a different road. We had enough problems with the Jeep the day before - didn't want to risk getting stuck. There were a number of hikers watching the whole escapade.

How does this winch work? (Greg is on the far left)

Pulling the line from our Jeep to the stranded Subaru. Hella muddy

Happy campers following the rescue! 
We back tracked to Crested Butte and headed up Washington Gulch, past the abandoned mining town of Elkton and came down along the Slate River. We stopped at our favorite camping area "Oh Be Joyful" and we were!
Our beautiful picnic spot next to a great boondocking site up Washington Gulch
It was very windy up on the pass. Crested Butte is off in the far distance

We enjoyed being reminded how much we love jeeping

The windy road down to the valley. Great fun!

Cascading waterfall falling into the Slate River

The views were awesome

Closeup of the cascading waterfalls

Meandering Slate River

We encountered some rain, but overall the weather was perfect

Great campground west of Crested Butte called Irwin Lake. Many spots with views of this high alpine lake. 

Very joyful at "Oh Be Joyful" campground

Our little caravan near Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Curecanti National Recreation Area
Lunch stop and brief hike at Black Canyon of the Gunnison
We love this warning sign at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Stunning views from Elk Ridge Campground in Ridgway State Park

Swim beach at Ridgway Reservoir inside the State Park.
Warning: they don't allow pets on the beach

The water was very refreshing
We spent a relaxing afternoon at Ouray Hot Springs which is a public pool in Ouray
Ouray Hot Springs has multiple pool areas with sulfur-free water ranging in temp
from 88 to 106 degrees. There are water slides, water volleyball and a
water obstacle course. The rates are $10 per day for seniors and $12 for adults 

Greg took his Go Pro for a ride down the water slide
Amazing sunset view from our campground at Ridgway
We spent one night at the United Campground in Durango. We love to stop
at Tremble Hot Springs. They have a cool swimming pool, a warm
hot spring pool, dry sauna and a large, lush lawn
surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers.
Greg and his Mom in the cool pool
It was a fun 10-day adventure. Greg and his Mom enjoy the evening campfire
I wrote a previous post showing the many beautiful flowers we saw while in the Crested Butte area. Click on the link to view:


  1. Gosh you hit some of my all time favorite places. We've managed to explore those same roads just north of Crested Butte with my Tacoma. I'm sure that Jeep was perfect. Looks like the perfect trip.

  2. Looks like a wonderful trip with family. We too drove that back country road near Crested Butte...what incredible scenery, a drive I will never forget. Thanks for taking me back!


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