Day 12: New Friends

Day 12, Wednesday, September 30th

Crested Butte To Copper Creek Trail Head

 

Dedicated To:

Lynda Parker, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Stephanie McAulay, Dundas, Ontario

Maylee Superales, Germany

Lotte Lesage, Bussam Netherlands

 

We woke to the crisp morning air with excitement for a short day today. Only 8 miles!!! It’s seemed like marathon after marathon after marathon as of late, so a shorter day was just what the doctor ordered. And… I was going to have company on the run. Wendy Fisher is a Crested Butte local, snow ski legend, friend of Marcus and now I’m honored to say a friend of mine.

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After dropping her boys off at school she met me at the Christiana, our hotel, and we drove to our starting point for the day. The first several miles were all uphill as we climbed up toward the Mount Crested Butte community, making our way to the small town of Gothic. Part way up the hill, mine and Wendy’s gabbing was pleasantly interrupted by a man working for a Pepsi delivery truck. He said, “Jenny LaBaw, you probably don’t remember me, but we went to high school together.” I was SO embarrassed that I didn’t recognize him, but I did remember his wife when he mentioned her name. He had read about Move Mountains and often delivers to CB, but thought he had missed me passing through the area. He said he couldn’t believe it as he saw us trudging up the hill. He generously donated a case of Dasani water, saying “you probably don’t drink anything else he had in the truck.” People are SO kind!

After a little reminiscing, we continued up the hill gabbing away and getting to know one another. She told me all about her days as a skier and how she started to lose her love for the sport with the pressure that came with it and the constant competition amongst her teammates. She said, “Those girls are hard core and I didn’t have that in me.” Then, in the next moment she pointed up to this cliff and nonchalantly said, “I’ve skied that line”. Are you joking me… that’s literally a wall of rock! Her humbleness and kind persona was so refreshing from someone that is such a high caliber athlete.

We finally hit the top of the hill and it was downhill all the way to Gothic from there. I thought the colors over Cinnamon Pass were breathtaking… but these greatly overpowered. The oranges and reds and yellows colored the hillside. As we continued sharing life stories and experiences and realizing we have a lot in common… we were surrounded by cattle. A few went bailing of the edge of the road as we startled them, some just curiously staring at us as we moved by and occasionally we got a little “moooooooo” that made us giggle like little girls.

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Coming into the town of Gothic, Mount Gothic was towering over us on the left. The jagged rocks at the top make you envision gargoyles leering over each one. There were a handful of small barn wood covered homes that Wendy went to explain are only inhabited during the summer months and in the winter there is only one caretaker that watches over the town as it’s too cold and remote. No one plows and there are no snowmobiles allowed. In the warmer months the town is used for environmental research. We looked at the map at the visitor center one more time to make sure we were headed to the correct trail head to set us up for success tomorrow and in fact we were only 1 mile away.

We headed up the dirt road and ½ mile in hit a trail for another ½ mile to the entrance of Copper Creek Trail head. Day 12, so quickly complete with great company, amazing scenery and a short distance.

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The rest of the day consisted of resting, eating and prepping for the only day without a support vehicle.   When it was time to wind down for the night, Dave pulled out the guitar and we sat in the lobby of the hotel with good people, telling stories of world travel and listening to the relaxing tones of Dave’s music.

 

Lesson Learned:

New friends are made when you least expect it.

Day 11: Dream Home

Day 11, Tuesday, September 29th

Gunnison to Crested Butte

 

Dedicated To:

Tom Hauburger, Seattle, WA

David Marmon, Williamsburg, VA

Ashley “Sunny” Cavalcanto, Seattle, CA

Kris Garcia, Riverside, CA

 

Going to bed last night, I honestly didn’t think that I was going to be able to continue the next day. My toe hurt so incredibly bad that I couldn’t put pressure on it. I was planning on starting the morning walking to Crested Butte in flip flops. Upon waking, I was pleasantly surprised to feel relief in my toe and enough so that when I started up the highway toward Crested Butte, as per the new norm, my toes went numb enough to tolerate the pain at about a ½ mile in.

With a mix of Michael Franti, Tom Petty, Citizen Cope and some more of my favorites, I jammed up the road. At mile 4, I got a burst of energy with a group of fishermen that were stationed at a turnout with Tory, clapping and cheering as I trotted by. With a smile on my face, I continued up the road winding around along the white line on my right. Being so close and personal to the road everyday, I notice things I never would. One being how reflective the white pain strip is. Sometimes I get mesmerized by its shimmer as it leads me through the mountains.

Crested Butte Mountain came into view on my right around mile 10ish and provided an amazing view the rest of the run to distract me of the pain that was starting to intensify in m feet and knees. It’s rocky face collided with the outpour of colorful aspens leading down into the sparsely dispersed cabins and barns beneath it. I found myself dreaming of living there with Marcus and our family, skiing in the winters and mountain biking in the summers. Who knows… maybe this will be where we land permanently. With about 1.5 miles left, Marcus came up on his bike and videoed me running through the quaint little town. We passed people sitting outside enjoying lunch at cafes, kids playing in the park, dogs retrieving frisbees… just people enjoying the amazing sunshine on this outstanding indian summer day.

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As I hit the end of town with 21 miles clocked for the day, I saw a long hill in my future for the next morning and decided that I had done enough. I collapsed, immediately took my shoes off and felt instant relief as the cold mountain air breathed through my toes.

We then headed into Crested Butte, got our hotel set up and went to the local mountain store, Alpineer, to see if they could help us set our route that I was unsure of for the next two days. I had an idea, but never being in this part of the state, I wasn’t 100% sure and the maps we had didn’t quite give us a great understanding of what lied ahead. The men at the counter were so incredibly helpful. They pulled out the map and together we came up with the shortest route from Crested Butte to Copper Creek (just outside of Gothic) for the next day and the day following we decided on East Maroon Pass trail to get me up and over the mountains to Aspen. They also generously donated a pair of Colorado socks to protect my feet and gave us a great discount on the items we purchased… I literally could have bought the entire store, but managed to come out with a Colorado hat for Marcus, the necessary map, and an emergency blanket in case I got stranded on the trail.

After getting prepped and ready for the next couple days to come, we headed to the local’s favorite café, Camp 4, and grabbed some coffees and teas before heading to the local CrossFit Gym, Synergy Athlete where Carrie Jo and her crew kindly welcomed us. I’ve been to a lot of CF gyms and this one is adorable… it’s small but so well put together. They have an amazing mindset and really focus on what I believe crossfit to be… a tool to make us stronger and healthier to do the things we love. In a mountain community, the evening class was small because everyone was out doing just what they should be doing… enjoying the last of summer on the trails. However, I got to chat with Carrie Jo for awhile as her daughters monkeyed themselves around the rings and structure. I love the philosophy this woman has… seriously another reason that Crested Butte is on our list of places to move!

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The day ended with an amazing home-cooked meal from a friend of Marcus’ and Crested Butte local, Wendy Fisher. Wendy and Marcus met in 2004 while filming to be in the Warren Miller film, Impact. I’ve heard for years about her and have watched her in films for extreme skiing. The girl is badass!!! She was a 7-year member of the womens US National Alpine Team and earned a spot to the 92 Olympics. Now a mom of two to Aksel and Devin, Wendy spends her time skiing with her boys and coaching private lessons at Crested Butte. I will write more about her in tomorrow’s blog.

With full bellies and warm hearts after spending an evening with Wendy and her amazing family, we headed back for some much needed shut eye.

Lesson Learned:  You can’t predict how the next day will be the night before.