Last week my bride and I took a quick trip to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. We hit the road on our first “empty-nester” trip to rest, reflect and celebrate our kids and their transition to college. Empty nesting brings changes, but as a dear older and wiser friend reminded me, no matter their age, our kids will always be our kids. I wanted to share some cool areas we explored and give some tips for travel to Crested Butte, CO.
Mt. Crested Butte Resort
We stayed in the resort area just at the base of the ski lifts. Mt. Crested Butte sat prominently from any vantage point. My wife found a great and inexpensive condo with a great kitchen, deck and hot tub with spectacular views of the mountains and valley. The only drawback was some sound from the car traffic nearby climbing the steep roads to the lodges. We had easy access to simple trails on the ski slopes, and the great lodges and shops in this hip spot.
Downtown Crested Butte
Just a short drive down the mountain is the main town of Crested Butte. What a beautiful place! Not only is this a picturesque tourist spot, but it is also a quaint town with schools, sports and rec fields, and more. The main street for shopping and restaurants is Elk Avenue. It is lined with neat museums and historical buildings, fly-fishing shops, t-shirt and other gift shops. There are plenty of delicious spots for a meal, coffee and dessert.
One of the days, Jennifer and I drove south toward Gunnison which is just about 30 minutes away. While not sharing about Gunnison (which has neat shops and restaurants), just north of town is a fisherman’s paradise along the Taylor River and Spring Creek. The staff at the Almont fly shop were incredibly helpful with a fishing license, and recommended flies.
We set out for the Taylor Reservoir, enjoyed its views and then drove back down along the scenic Taylor River. Finding a perfect day camp spot, we did just that. The sounds and view of the river made for a refreshing spot for lunch, fishing, and strolling. At the end of the day, we made it back down to the fly shop, which also has a great little restaurant. We enjoyed the sunset on the mountains around us while eating a melt in your mouth brisket dinner! I thoroughly enjoyed this day trip and would highly recommend this area.
Hike to Judd Falls
There was an amazing hike just a short drive north from our condo. On a half paved and half gravel drive north on Gothic you will find the trailhead to Judd Falls. This fairly easy hike is filled with spectacular views even from the parking lot! We viewed amazing meadows that moved on toward Copper Creek. We heard the falls before we saw them over what was an inspiring and almost frightening cliff. Take care as you snap photos near the edge of this incredible vista! This hike is easily doable in a half day.
More than a trip…
But this was more than a trip to the mountains. We have done that before. For me, this was a pivot point. Launching our kids is no small thing. We wanted to do something special to signify that. My heart tugged as we enjoyed such an idyllic location while being aware of the pain in Afghanistan and the continued struggle, disruption and heartbreak with COVID19. Knowing the depths of these difficulties helped me to focus even more on the preciousness of why we took the journey: to celebrate this milestone in our lives, to reflect, and to regroup for the next journey ahead.
A friend had recommended the book Halftime. I completed it and did some serious soul searching. The time in that book and the Word were a true gift to guide my thoughts and process. I will share more about Halftime and its impact on me soon! I thank God for a moment to slow down, thank Him for my wife, our kids, and the journey to this point in my 50 years.
As I stood outside our room one night, I looked up at the crystal clear night sky in awe. Above me I could see the Milky Way and in a sky filled with beautifully colored twinkling stars. And then as clear and close as I have ever seen, there was the Big Dipper. As you know the end stars of the cup point to the North Star. This trip reinforced and and is keeping me oriented on my true north, Jesus Christ. Stay focused and blessed!