Wednesday July 31st, 2013- Today we decided to drive across Cottonwood Pass to Crested Butte. This drive was as spectacular as it had been described. Winding up and across the mountains, with breathtaking views around each bend…….
We stopped at the summit…..note the elevation – 12,126 feet. Our campground at Chalk Creek sits at about 8,000 feet and we had just begun to acclimate a bit. The higher altitude can give you a headache, make you feel a bit queasy, and a bit ‘anxious’. After the first night, however, we only began to notice the altitude with exertion.
The added increase in altitude was noticeable….we could feel our hearts racing a bit….or maybe it was just the exhilaration and the amazing views!
We spotted a trail, The Cottonwood Pass Skyline Hike, heading upwards from the summit parking…so off we went to explore……..
Looking down from the trail was this beautiful alpine lake…..
I was thinking while we were hiking, that I wish that I could capture the ‘feel’ and the smells of the alpine country.
As you pass through an area of fir trees, it smells like Christmas. The air was COOL, 55 degrees, and fresh and crisp (that’s the feeling of the thinner air at altitude).
The trail quickly moved above any tree line and opened onto this alpine meadow, with small spongy tundra-like plants and wildflowers. This hike reminded us of some that we had taken at Glacier National Park.
We really had not looked at this hike in our guide book, so we did not know how far the trail went.
When we got to this section that seemed to go on forever over the pass, we decided to head back to our car.
Driving down the other side of Cottonwood Pass was a bit more challenging….the road went from paved to dirt, but it was well maintained and not as bad as some that we had traveled!
The road followed flowing streams…a fisherman’s paradise!
And passed by Taylor Reservoir. Beautiful!