Monday, March 2, 2020

Crested Butte to Monarch Pass--an Oh Be Joyful Route!




In my last post--click here-- my husband and I drove from Buena Vista, Colorado, over Cottonwood Pass to Almont and then Crested Butte, Colorado, where we decided to stop for lunch before continuing back to Buena Vista, using Monarch Pass for the return trip.


When we entered Crested Butte, the skies opened up and it began to rain heavily.  We parked about midway on Elk Avenue, which is the main street in town and had delicious sandwiches at The Last Steep Cafenamed after the Owners’ favorite North Face ski run at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Ski Area.




This was our second visit to this colorful and bohemian style Colorado ski town.  On our first visit, we happened to arrive in town on the day of "Vinotok," which is a storytelling and fall harvest festival with ancient roots and is a long-standing annual event in Crested Butte, that takes place on the autumnal equinox.  If you missed that post you can read it here.  It is a really very colorful and raucous celebration!   More about the town of Crested Butte and our visit can be read here.


The rain had decreased to a light drizzle so we walked along Elk Ave. a bit after lunch enjoying the sights...



...and all the beautiful flowers that were everywhere in town.




The name "Oh Be Joyful" is common in Crested Butte. There is a gallery, a church, a creek, a trail, and a recreation area with that name. From what I could find after doing some research is that the Oh-be-Joyful name was first applied to the creek in the 19th century after valuable ore was discovered in the gulch.  I think it is the perfect description for the entire joyful town!



 As we drove out of Crested Butte we passed beautiful scenery...



...and drove towards the Sawatch Mountains and scenic Monarch Pass.






Monarch Pass is located on the Continental Divide at the southern end of the Sawatch Range along the border between Gunnison and Chaffee counties, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of the town of Salida.



During the summer, an aerial tram from the parking lot at the summit carries visitors to the top of Monarch Ridge above the pass (at approximately 12,000 feet (3,700 m) above sea level), allowing a wider view of the surrounding peaks. During the winter, visitors enjoy skiing at Monarch Ski Area. Monarch Mountain Lodge is located about 5 miles from the summit of the pass.




The pass can be traversed by all vehicles under most conditions and is generally open year-round; however, 7% grades exist, and the area is prone to heavy winter snowfall, often resulting in temporary closures during severe winter storms.



An automated weather station (AWOS), provided by the Federal Aviation Administration, is located atop Monarch Pass, providing pilots of small aircraft access to real-time weather conditions near the summit.




There are many curves and downhill grades on Monarch pass but the views are spectacular!  If you'd like to see some photos of how it looks in winter on a ride we made to Telluride. Colorado, click here.



As we descended out of Monarch pass we passed the remnants of the Madonna Mine, a lead, zinc, and silver mine located at an elevation of 10,751 feet which was mined from 1883 until 1953.



Soon, we were back on the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway on our way back to our hotel in Buena Vista, Colorado.  We were not finished exploring the area and would head the next day towards some mining ghost towns near Leadville--more in a future post.


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38 comments:

riitta k said...

So joyful & colorful! The mountains are stunning.

Sue said...

Thanks for the memories of Monarch Pass- Colorado truly is God’s country!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,
Crested Butte looks like a beautiful town, so many colorful buildings and pretty flowers. The scenery is gorgeous, I love the mountain views.
I would like to take this scenic drive. Wonderful post and photos.
Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

A Bit of the Blarney said...

I love it!! We took this route home this last summer though we went through Salida from Great Sand Dunes through Buena Vista! What a grand tour you have taken us on! Thank you!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

this area is my kind of place - gorgeous views great food and art

Sandi Magle said...

What a wonderful travel pictorial...in the middle of winter...this area is on our list for our next road trip...to include Yellowstone also! Loving that town and all the artwork! Thanks, Sandi

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

A pleasure to see your trip through your words and photos Pat. For me, armchair travelling. Appreciated.
Joy

Barb said...

Visiting Crested Butte is always a pleasure for me. I've gone several summers with girlfriends during wildflower season - we rent a place and go on daily hikes. I skied there a long time ago. It still manages to retain a charming old time feel. I enjoyed your photos, Pat.

ellen b. said...

Looks like a joyful place for sure. Love all the color!

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Thank you for sharing all of these lovely views of your travels. It is so pretty there.

Ruth Hiebert said...

What a quaint and colorful town! Gorgeous scenery all along the way.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Pat,
I always appreciate the depth of your posts and the photos that accompany them. You truly are collecting "memory flowers," in your bouquet of life.
You have transitioned so beautifully, with such style and grace from New York to Colorado. It seems to me you have combined the best of both worlds!
I want to let you know that my husband has not fared well at our nearly 7,500 feet. It all began in October with pneumonia, pleural effusion, inhalers and low oxygen level. I am sad to say that we will be leaving this beautiful State to retire around family in Mississippi in the next couple of months.
So I will turn to you to keep me updated on the beauty of Colorado!
Jemma

stevebethere said...

What fab photo's and some so quaint too nice photos thanks for the tour :-)

Have a crestedbuttetastic week :-)

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I enjoyed your photos of beautiful Colorado. My family skied at Crested Butte many times over the years. It was our favorite place because of the small-town atmosphere and friendly people, plus there was always plenty of snow. I'm surprised at the lack of snow in your photos.
Your pictures brought back many happy memories for me. Thank you!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The scenery sure does change a lot according to elevation! I'm surprised to see so many pretty flowers in CO at this time of year. Sure makes for some pretty photos! Enjoy your week!

Angie said...

Pat - I can always count on you for spectacular scenery, not to mention historic interest. But then, it was little difficult to scroll past the food at the beginning of the post - man, that looks GOOD! I know I would like Crested Butte - the color and bohemian style really draws me in! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

Fun60 said...

I am really enjoying seeing this trip through your eyes.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Such wonderful and colorful pics! Amazing!

Lady Fi said...

What a delight!

Powell River Books said...

Thank you for taking us along on the trip. It's beautiful country and that little ski town looks like so much fun to visit, especially during a storytelling festival. - Margy

Jeanie said...

What a charming and delightful town (and delicious looking lunch, too!). I'm glad the damp went to just a drizzle after so you could explore a bit. The rest of your drive has been fantastic, too -- such fabulous scenery. You know how to do the road trip well!

betty-NZ said...

I'm glad you shared your trip with us! The scenery is awesome, I love little towns.

I'm so happy to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

My Corner of the World

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I like everything about your adventure, the joyful bohemian town, the flowers (my gosh, the colors), that food (drool), and the scenery (droool). Thanks for sharing. :-)

XmasDolly said...

ooooooo Mining Ghost Towns!! Now that's what I want to see & read about. Can't wait until you post that one, but these are awesome too. I was in Denver Colorado when I was 14 I believe, but I really don't remember it. I think we only drove through it on the way to Belen, New Mexico to visit with my Uncle. Those were the good old days for sure. Thanks for sharing. :) Have a great day!

Traveler In Me said...

That's one beautiful drive and the destination is so pretty.

The Colorado town is colorful and so picturesque. I enjoyed the photos that showcase the place's bohemian vibe.

Sharon Wagner said...

Scenery, joy and vino! Good things all. Or Vinotok which may or may not have wine. But sounds good.

Dawn said...

Such a colorful town and the lunch looks yummy. I had no idea Colorado was so beautiful.
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Wow, really beautiful scenery around the Crested Butte area. I've skied in CO before but not Crested Butte. Looks like a fun place to visit, and wonderful photos!

Joyful said...

The scenery is fantastic and the food looks delicious.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Thank you Pat for sharing your trip to and around Crested Butte area - wonderful photos.
Joy

My Tata's Cottage said...

Hi Pat! Your photos and stories are always fun to read. We love Salida, Monarch Pass, Monarch, Creste Butte and Gunnison. It was the only places I skied when I was younger. an interesting fact, they don't use the spray snow like so many other resorts do and they don't get the serious injures because of it. I loved Monarch and Creste Butte is just like a storybook town. Leadville is filled with tons of history, my cousin found out my dad and one of his sisters were born there but their birth certificates were lost when the courthouse burned down. My dad had so many relatives up there and my cousin Dennis and his first wife ran the local barber/beauty shop many years ago. You are not allowed to train up there unless you were born there according to the NCAA rules for Track and Field and XC. Colorado history is quite fascinating. My late Uncle Louie was a Colorado history genius. He was the best to travel with because he knew everything. Thank you for this trip to some wonderful Colorado towns . Have agreat weekend. HUGS HPS!

diane b said...

Wow that is some big sandwich. The town looks so lively, colourful and interesting. The drive is most scenic. Colorado sure is a beautiful state.

MarilynsTreats said...

Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

Reidland Family said...

I have stayed in Crested Butte a number of times but it has been many years. It was so nice to see your cheerful pictures. I always remember the wildflowers as well as the beautiful little town.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Our Colorado family took us to Crested Butte for a long weekend on one of our visits ...we loved our stay in this colorful unique town. You captured the essence perfectly!

Michelle said...

Colorado is such a beautiful state and I love that you, and your husband, are always off on a good adventure. Thanks for linking up.

William Kendall said...

Beautiful shots- especially the landscapes.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such colourful buildings and beautiful flowers.

All the best Jan