So my time here in Colorado isn’t only “horse time”. Coincidentally, if you believe in coincidence…I also had some friends getting married about four hours from here in the beautiful town of Crested Butte. Now how great is that? I get to drive to another scene of mountain views, cooler temperatures AND spend time with friends.
When I was a kid, our parents brought us up to Crested Butte from Texas to learn how to snow ski. A lot of families from Austin did the same and as a result, some of them bought vacation homes and now their kids bring the next generation there to ski.
The aspen trees and Mount Crested Butte make quite a panorama of alpine gorgeous-ness and the summer might even be more fun than the winter. Ski slopes turn into hiking and mountain biking trails. The wildflowers go on forever and it was agreed by all that this would be the perfect spot for this wedding.
The stallion, Traveler, is the herd leader. They live on Bureau of Land Management property. There is a lot of controversy about the herds being gathered each year to cut down on the population. Some horses are adopted and some sold to slaughter.
It is a sad situation with no clear answer in my opinion. That is another post…
Once across the barren landscape of the valley, I climbed in altitude to Norwood. It starts getting greener there and the temperature begins to cool as well.
As I got close to Ridgeway, a storm blew into the mountain pass and pelted me with hail and rain. I forgot that this kind of weather is so typical for the mountains and was very relieved to have gotten new tires for my car before I left, thanks to my husband. Driving the 7% grade, downhill in the rain sandwiched between large cargo carrying trucks, was a bit nerve-wracking but soon I was out of the winding, switchbacks and into Montrose. From there to Gunnison was a pleasure and as I got closer, I imagined which trail I would hike while I was there.
I am familiar with a few of the trails but also got the urge to find a new one. The friends I was staying with would know just what I was looking for. The plan was to meet for supper and where we were hiking the next day was always a topic of conversation. There is so much to choose from.
Because our reason for being there was the wedding, there were many opportunities to meet for meals and drinks, often outside to start in the afternoons, and finding a restaurant as the evenings got cooler.
Crested Butte has no shortage of great places to eat and all kinds of food and characters that live there locally. One gentleman I met, was dressed in mountain man clothing, complete with a very large knife, in a leather scabbard, his hat and boots looking very authentic. I didn’t see a horse tied outside but it may have been around the corner, in the alley. I was enchanted by his appearance although it was obvious that the cocktail he was sipping had modified his social skills.
Actually, we all had modified social skills at one time or another. It was a celebration and there was so much to celebrate. Beauty of the surroundings, health and friendship… the marriage of our friends and the honor of being included.
The day of the ceremony, the morning sparkled from a short overnight rain. It was easy to be energized by the brisk air and I walked the six or so miles along the bottom of Mount Crested Butte, into the town for coffee and to visit with those who were staying in that area. I was staying up the hill, closer to the mountain.
The flowers were magnificent and a mule deer watched us hike through the aspen trees and sage.
As the day progressed, the skies started to fill with puffy clouds and some of us had a feeling, it might be smart to take an umbrella and raincoat since the wedding was outside.
Sure enough, the clouds built and as the ceremony began the heavens opened. Rain, lightning and sleet pelted us creating a ceremony postponement in order to find shelter. Everyone laughed and joked about the weather. What else would we do? It was so great just to be there and we were all thrilled with the uniqueness of the situation.
The wedding continued at a lower altitude with the beautiful mountain in the background.
Horses were even included in the scenery! It really couldn’t have been more beautiful and at one point, I stood, watched and listened.
“I’m going to take all this in”, I told myself. “This mountain in all of its glory, looking down on the celebration of love and friendship…”
I felt very grateful.