Featured Photo: Football Brown

Featured Photo: Football Brown

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Colorado 2022: Day 12, Moving Day Again

While we didn't know it yet, our trip was seriously starting to wind down. There were still some great moments, but things were headed in a negative direction. First and foremost, the Crystal Mill hike was going to be hard to beat no matter what. Unfortunately, one of our group was set on trying to beat the happenings from the morning of that big hike, as you'll begin to find out in a moment. Even further, we woke up to yet another round of rain, and the weather wasn't going to get any better until it was time to go home. 

We were still optimistic, however, as we broke camp at Bogan Flats Campground and headed out to enjoy another day of fall colors we hoped. Our goal for that evening was to find a camping place within an hour or so of Gunnison. That is one of my favorite areas of Colorado, and I had high hopes to finish the trip doing a little fishing on the Gunnison and some of its tributaries. To get there, we planned to drive over one of my favorites, Kebler Pass.

We made the quick jump over McClure Pass from the Crystal River Valley, and were soon approaching the turn onto County Road 12. This unassuming gravel road winding back through the hills towards Crested Butte features some of the most stunning fall scenery I've seen in Colorado. When the aspen are at their peak, this drive is very hard to beat. We were just a week or ten days early on our trip, at least for the best colors. However, as you'll see, we still saw some very nice golden aspen.

Golden aspen fall colors Colorado


Not far along County Road 12, a now familiar stench hit us. Looking at my wife with concern, I asked if we should pull over. "We probably better," was her reply. Sure enough, we had our second blowout in two days. This was a full mess requiring professional help and cleaning. We cleaned up as best we could, then continued on our way. The nearest laundry facilities were far off and we had a long ways to go.

The clouds were mesmerizing, looking like it was about to storm at times, with the sun trying to come out at others. Against the dramatic sky backdrop, the fall colors were special even if not at peak. 

Golden aspen near Kebler Pass


Driving along our route, I remembered another road that I had enjoyed in the past. We turned off on County Road 730 to enjoy Ohio Pass. Unfortunately, we were now in too much of a hurry for another favorite along this route. The short hike up to the beaver ponds just south of Ohio Pass can net some gorgeous brook trout, not to mention a hike through a phenomenal aspen forest. On this day, we were already short on time with the need for an unplanned pit stop ahead, so we kept pushing on. The brook trout would have to wait until another trip. 

Golden Aspen near Ohio Pass


It was probably somewhere on this drive that we started to realize that our trip was winding down even if none of us admitted it or voiced it. There were too many things starting to conspire against us. If we had been smart, we would have called it a trip and headed home right then and there, but we still had almost a week of adventuring left and persisted in our plans.

As we hit the lowlands, I pushed the little car harder to get into Gunnison as fast as possible. Leah started searching for laundromats on Google maps. Thankfully, we found something quickly. I grabbed everything that had been soiled yet again and raced in for a quick cleaning. An hour later, we were debating whether to grab food in town or race on out to camp before dark. 

The pull of one of our favorite Italian restaurants was too much, so we stopped at Mario's Pizza and Pasta in Gunnison. Little Bit was really starting to enjoy the concept of eating out, and the waitresses all loved her to death. We enjoyed a hot meal in a warm dry place, and then hit the road in the gathering shadows. 

Our goal was the Gateview Campground. I had experienced some incredible fishing there many years before. Even better, I had the tiny campground to myself. I was hoping to replicate that great time with my family. Unfortunately, yet another complication was about to rear its head, but at the time, we were tired and just wanted to get to camp. 

No comments:

Post a Comment