Pictured above, from top to bottom: scenic pic of Crested Butte, Deidra and I lounging at a bar at the base of the mountain, Deidra and I at the top of the mountain with Bruce (his ponytail is hidden by the toboggan), and a family picture in front of the trail map.
So I am back... we arrived back in Atlanta late Sunday night. (I was really disappointed to miss the Oscars, but I have since pushed through it) We were gone for several days. We left out on Wednesday morning at 3:45 am... to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. If I remember correctly I spent at least 15 minutes of the ride to Atlanta expressing the fact that from this point on in my life I WILL be flying out of Birmingham because it's closer AND it is in the same time zone.
We arrived at the airport with time to spare and began our adventure. We had a lay over in Dallas, TX and arrived in Gunnison, CO at 2:15 (Mountain Time) where the rest of the group was eagerly awaiting our arrival! The airport in Gunnison was tiny- it could be compared to Alex City's airport- kind of scary. Total we had 9 people-6 family members and 3 friends. We rented a 15 passenger van- which was just barely big enough to hold ALL the luggage we had brought plus the entire group. We joked that we were on a church youth group trip to Gatlinburg, TN.
The house/cabin that we stayed in was so nice. It had just been renovated and was beautiful. It had new appliances, flat screen TVs, basically the works. The only thing it was missing was a hot tub... I mean, I was really wanting to toss on the ole bathing suit and relax. I'll get 'um next time maybe.
The first full day out there we all skied. Deidra and I took a ski lesson. We signed up for a half-day lesson, and we had the BEST instructor anyone could ever ask for. His name was Bruce... picture an old hippie with long white hair, pulled back into a low ponytail. He was so patient and kind. The lesson began at ten and by lunch Deidra and I were feeling great about our skills. Bruce loved us (who couldn't?) and invited us to come back after lunch so that he could personally take us up on the mountain and help guide us down. It was great. Deidra and I had so much fun. We had a few scary times up on the mountain, but we loved it. Deidra fell a few times and I got out of control once... I really scared Bruce-not to mention anyone who could see me. I literally almost went off a cliff.
The second day that we were there... Deidra and I embarked on the mountain alone. It was much scarier without Bruce to hold our hands. We made our way down several times and enjoyed our afternoon. We have some really funny videos from this day....
The altitude was really tough on everyone this year. I am not sure if I ever truly adjusted, and I know for sure it took Deidra way down. She was a little sickly one night... but I helped her through it. I wouldn't say that I am too much of a "rock" during tough times. She got sick and I cried... what does that mean? I just get overwhelmed with situations... and my mind begins to race... What if we have to go to the hospital? Where is a hospital? Can I handle driving the 15 passenger van? I just freak out... but I think in the long run I was there for Deidra. At least she said I was... who knows, though. She was fine the next morning and we all had to make note to drink LOTS of water.
My brother, Justin, spent his time snowboarding and he did really well. My cousins, Celinda and Leslie are truly good skiers, as they spent one season at a resort in Montana. Justin was with them one day and I think they actually conquered a Black Trail. (sidenote: the trails are labeled by color according to the degree of difficulty- Double Black=ridiculous, down to Green=where Deidra and I rocked out a.k.a easy) I am pretty sure that they didn't mean to end up on a Black with Justin with them, but they all made it to the bottom alive.
The little town of Crested Butte is oh so cute. I think you could use the word quaint to describe it. We ate at several fun places and mingled with a few locals. Before we left for our trip to Colorado, my friend Lacey told me about a website to check out. You can actually go to this website, type the name of a city/state, and it will give you random things to check out that maybe aren't common knowledge about the area... i.e. largest ball of twine. I knew before going out there that in Crested Butte there were three things I wanted to see before I left: a two-story out house, a huge statue of a night and dragon, and a house shingled with old license plates.
One night we ate a place called, Teocalli Tamale. It is a fun little Mexican place. We were told that it was a local hang out and on "powder days" they don't open until after lunch. Well, while we were having dinner I was telling everyone at the table about the random things I hoped to have a chance to locate. Needless to say, the two-story out house really sparked the conversation. We had several people at our table that didn't want to believe such a thing existed. So I decided to ask the people working at the restaurant. I hopped up and went to the counter to investigate. When I mentioned the two-story out house the guys working there could NOT believe that I knew about that. One guy looked at the other and was like "should we tell her..." and I was all, "hey...I am right here what should you tell me..." One thing lead to another and come to find out that two-story out house was right behind their building. The next thing I knew they were sneaking me through the kitchen out the back door to show me this out house. When we got out back, there it was, in all its glory. A red two-story out house, which has since been converted into a shed. The history behind it goes like this... back in the 1800's, when it was built... during the summer they used the bottom story and during the winter it would snow so much that they would have to use to top story! Pretty crazy, huh?
By the end of the trip I had found all three of the things I set out to find- the weird thing is... I don't have a picture of any of them. I guess I got caught up in the excitement of it all and didn't think to take a picture.
Colorado is beautiful. It just untamed wilderness. I totally understand how someone gets out there and ends up making it their home. The people are all so free. Everyone we meet was there for the winter and come summer they were off to a different part of the world to work a summer job... one guy was going to California for the summer to be a river guide and another lady was off to Australia to do a program similar to outward bound. It's just a way of life that one could be envious of. I sometimes think about how we all get bogged down in the routine of life. I don't know that I would ever be brave or free enough to live the life style of some of the people we met, but oh how much easier life would be.... stress free and living the dream.
Overall, my trip to Colorado was great. I got to spend a week with family and friends while enjoying some really beautiful scenery. We all had a lot of fun and are all so fortunate to be able to enjoy such a lavish vacation.