This was the most random weekend I’ve ever had in Colorado. Living in Grand Junction is great because you can do such a variety of activities almost year-round. This weekend we hatched a plan to bike, hike and ski within 3 days. With enough driving, it could be done!
Saturday morning we started off biking Horsethief out in the Kokopelli system just outside Junction.
The view from the trail of the Colorado River and Grand Mesa in the distance.
Carrie looking at trying something ridiculous
After biking we loaded up the car to head to Rocky Mountain National Park. The plan was to meet up with my high school coach and friend who came out from Seattle for some hiking in the park. Carrie and I chose to go through the west entrance and drive across the park to meet up with them the following day. We figured we’d stumble across a campground for the night and get to see the park. So we drive across I-70 then up north…over Berthoud Pass….through Winter Park…through Granby…around Grand Lake and arrive at the park entrance.
ROAD CLOSED through the park.
I felt a little like Clark Griswold in Summer Vacation when Wally World was closed. Drive all that way and the tiny strip of road we need to access the other side of the park is CLOSED?? There were some words. Ok, we’ll just find a way to cut across (rather than drive all the way back to I-70). Oh wait, there’s a huge mountain range in the way. Come on, this is Colorado! Where’s the gnarly mountain pass we can take? Doesn’t exist.
So, as the sun went down, we drove back through Granby, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, and 10 other rinky-dink towns to I-70. Then down I-70 for 10 flippin’ minutes to head back north on another highway….all the while complaining about the gas money being wasted touring all of the central rockies.
And here’s where Carrie’s only fault was that she should have been wearing her glasses.
She tells me we need to get off at Idaho Springs to head to Central City.
Me: That doesn’t make sense. There’s a parkway to Central City just down the road a little farther.
Carrie: No seriously its right here on the map and it goes right out of Idaho Springs.
Me: Really? I’ve never in my life seen any road going north out of here (as we drive through Idaho Springs in the dark)
And just as I said that we spot a tiny sign that has an arrow with “Central City”. Ok I stand corrected. Good job Carrie.
We head onto this road that turns into dirt and starts a series of steep switchbacks up a mountainside.
Me: Ummm….are you sure this is right?
Carrie: Well that’s weird, it shows on the map that it’s a highway.
Me: This is definitely NOT a highway. And I think I’m glad its dark out and cannot see how steep this is.
I decide I should take a small peek at the map and quickly discover that had she been wearing her glasses she would see that the highway comes from the exit NEXT to Idaho Springs, not Idaho Springs itself. Yet somehow we stumbled across a secret passage to Central City via Jed Clampett’s backyard. We decided to follow it and see what happens. Thankfully we made it….but with more time and gas wasted.
So I pitch the idea that we stop in Black Hawk, take a break, and play some slots. Win some of that gas money back! So we agree to only spend $10 each, mooch a free beverage and get the score on the baseball games.
After a long day…and only 5 minutes on a slot machine….KAH-CHING!
I won $186 !!
Then Carrie gave it a shot…
We cashed out and left right away.
Feeling much better, we got on the road again. And discovered we were going the wrong way…AGAIN. If there was another title for this post it would be U-Turn. But eventually we found a place to pull over and camp for the night. Don’t ask me where we were…we have no idea.
Then next day we got up and met Lily and Jennifer at the Mt. Vrain trailhead just outside the park. The hike began in thick pine then rose above treeline through snow fields.
We reached the saddle and discovered stunning views
The wind was also blowing about 40mph
After our hike we had a great mexi meal in Estes Park and caught up on life before having to say goodbye. Thanks again for dinner Lily! And don’t forget all those book recommendations for me 😉
Carrie and I headed south…we think…back to I-70 and found a cozy little pull off in the Greys peak area to sleep for the night. We enjoyed resting our legs sleeping in, then drove up the road to Loveland Ski Area for our first day on the snow.
Weird to be on the lift and see grass below
Carrie shredding it up
Loving being on the slopes again!
After learning to ski again, a great yard sale, and getting shown up by a 10 year old, we headed home. What a crazy weekend! I’m at work just to recover.