BACKYARD ADVENTURES: Weekend trip to Crested Butte/Gunnison

 With opposite schedules and minimal time off work this Summer, Cicely and I haven't been able to get out much. But, a window of opportunity popped up, and we fled the Roaring Fork Valley for a quick trip over the mountains to Crested Butte. Here are some of the highlights:

 Teocalli looms in the background of our camping spot along Brush Creek road.

Teocalli looms in the background of our camping spot along Brush Creek road.

BRUSH CREEK ROAD / TEOCALLI MOUNTAIN

We got into town Friday afternoon, and after grabbing dinner at Pitas in Paradise downtown, made our way to the Teocalli trailhead and to find a camp spot. Brush Creek road is not a drive I'd recommend to anyone that values their car's suspension, but it offers some beautiful camping (although most of it was taken the weekend we were there!). Continuing on to the Teocalli trailhead gets progressively worse, but nothing a mid-size truck couldn't handle.  

 Views from camp on Brush Creek road. 

Views from camp on Brush Creek road. 

Teocalli has been one of my favorite hikes in the area ever since I explored it two years prior. It offers great views of the surrounding mountains and is a pretty straightforward, non-technical hike. That being said, it is still super steep towards the top, without a defined trail or switchbacks. At a leisurely pace with plenty of breaks, it took us about three hours to get to the false summit. We opted to turn back however, due to some darkening clouds looming over us and distant thunder rumbles. As it would turn out, they cleared and passed once we were back to the truck, but we were still happy to have gotten to the false summit. 

 Cicely and Riley start off on the Teocalli trail. 

Cicely and Riley start off on the Teocalli trail. 

HARTMAN ROCKS & CURECANTI

Unfortunately for us, the Teocalli hike had taken up most of our Saturday and rain had forced us inside for the afternoon. Sunday we spent exploring some of the easier trails around Hartman Rocks and working on Cicely's bike handling skills. The drive back to the Roaring Fork Valley past Curecanti National Recreation Area offers dozens of short to long side hikes in and around the Upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison, without ever entering the National Park. We only had time to stop at the Curecanti Creek overlook, but have plenty of hikes to add to our bucket list after peering down into the dramatic canyon. 

 Gazing down on Morrow Point reservoir in the Upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison. 

Gazing down on Morrow Point reservoir in the Upper Black Canyon of the Gunnison. 

 Cicely peers over the edge at the Curecanti Creek overlook.

Cicely peers over the edge at the Curecanti Creek overlook.

A short weekend trip will never do the Gunnison/Crested Butte area justice, but it was a refreshing change of scenery that kept us inspiring to keep getting out there and experiencing the natural beauty that the Western Slope of Colorado has to offer.