Squerch. Glugg. Squish.
As my boot hit the ground, it was immediately swallowed by an inch of mud. I grabbed the SUV to keep my balance and found every inch covered in the same brown slime.
David sat stunned.
I started inching my way farther down the trail, until it dawned on me…
“I bet they went to plan B camp site and now we’re stuck on the way to plan A.
Alone. In the woods. In the cold. Shit.”
Retracing my steps towards the SUV which was so neatly lodged nose down in a gulley, I was at a loss for words. My normally calm, serene husband was silently beating the arm rest, until looking at me where we both looked ready to cry, but were simply too stunned.
A SCENIC DRIVE
But let’s go back to the beginning, how did we get ourselves in to such a silly mess?!
We haven’t been able to luxuriate in Fall colors for the last 8 years in Florida, so I was thrilled!Having zero camping experience, we were nonetheless excited for the challenge and my great new friends from Kelty sent us a sleeping bag and tent, so we wouldn’t even have to build our own shelter from sticks. 😉
Saturday morning we departed before the sun and were rewarded with amazing views.
As we continued our trek from Denver to Kebler Pass, the trees became increasingly brilliant though the weather a bit dicey. While in the comfort of the car it’s fun to see the snow mixed among the fall leaves and even the rain was beautiful as it hit the Colorado River.
It took nearly 5 hours to reach our destination, but we were in good spirits having enjoyed the drive…even with just a single random radio station giving us farming news!
A REGRETTABLE DECISION
Then…we made an error in judgement.
One of the constant discussions in Colorado is how intense people are.
They don’t go for a 6 mile run, they do 6o or they do 6 straight up a mountain to 14,000 feet.
They don’t go for a quick hike, they take backpacks and hike into the wilderness to sleep before hiking further.
They don’t let a dirt road keep them from their destination.
Ah ha that last one is where we really fubared the situation.About an hour previously we’d gone out of cell phone reception having truly entered the mountains and off roads. Reaching the turn off point for the camp, David pulled over and we started to debate.
It looked muddy, but was it that muddy?
Maybe we should walk to the camp site? But if we walked a mile and it was right, then we had to walk back and get all our camping stuff which didn’t sound right.
We have an SUV…it can do that, right?
As we started up the incline, it became apparent to both of us almost right away we’d made an error in judgement. The SUV was sliding and the road wasn’t just rough it was large ruts.
Reaching the top of the incline, we turned and agreed to just attempt going back down. Easy enough…except as you saw above, not so much.With my boots full of mud, I slipped, slid and nervously made my way down to the main road.
During all this, snow and rain are making all the roads infinitely worse. Hands frozen and eyes peeled I kept watch for someone with a big enough truck to possibly come help us.
Two guys in a small jeep pulled over and happily bounded up the hill to push David out, which was a fruitless effort, so back down we went.
Cue the trumpets! Bum, brummm, bum!
Around the corner came a Jeep with a winch on the front. I waved. They stopped.
“Any interest in driving up that ridiculous hill and pulling us out of ditch?”
“Of course!!” said the smiling angel (later to be named Todd)
And with no trouble at all, they drove right on up, he hooked up the car and yanked it out! Then stayed connected to help guide D down as the SUV simply kept sliding right off the mud side road.So there we are back on the main road, still no cell service, a car with every warning bell and light going off and pondering if it will even make it down the mountain…but we start driving and the snow starts falling and the cars start piling up.
Turns out we got down just before a large wreck that closed the road.
Crested Butte is out of this world beautiful, but there’s not an open mechanic on the weekends and just 1 working tire air pump in town. It was also Vinotauk, a festival celebrating Pagean heritage and the Harvest moon, so all hotels were sold out.I started making calls and got us the last room at Crested Butte Inn…apparently it was the last room because the lock on the door didn’t work! We figured that couldn’t be any worse than a tent in the mud, so oh well!
Monday morning David took the car in and miraculously, they said nothing was wrong. He had a pre-scheduled appointment for an oil change, so no guarantees they really looked it over, but for now we’re going with blissful ignorance.
He also spent two hours cleaning every bit of his bike. Thus we headed out for a RUNCH and RIDE.
And here he is walking 9 miles down the mountain when his tire burst. Likely from having been drenched, then frozen it just got too brittle when taking the hard hits.Overall it might seem like a bust, but we still had a good time. We saw a lot of different places in Colorado. We hiked 5 new trails. I got to celebrate my love of changing colored leaves and in the end we are safe, so look for another post on the beauty!
- An SUV is not a Jeep.
- We are not as rugged as our Colorado friends.
- We have a pretty amazing angel watching over us.
- It was probably not the perfect weather for a first camping trip.
Are you a camper?
Any crazy road trip lessons learned?
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