Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crazy Dog Lady Goes on Vacation

Yeah, my fashion sense doesn't get any better when I'm on vacation. Especially at nearly 12,000' on a windy day.

It's fall in Colorado's high country.

Which means vacation time for me. Jonny and I would be perfectly happy spending a week at home. We've done this before, years before it was trendy. Traveling is such a hassle and so expensive and there's plenty to do here. But I feel like it would be a good idea for us to get out of town and out of our rut, er routine, if only for a few days. We settled on Crested Butte which is a 4 3/4 hour drive and the cheapest hotel in town allows our 3 dogs with no extra exorbitant fees. Crested Butte is an expensive place though even at the cheapo place so we only go for 2 nights. Plus nearly 3 days is plenty of time away from home, long enough to get away and have a nice break but not so long that it gets tiring and stressful.

Vacation time for me also means a celebrity dies and this year it's Patrick Swayze. I'm sorry Patrick, I was only gone for 2 nights but I guess that was long enough. Last year was Paul Newman. Year before that was George Carlin. Can't remember the rest but it is creepy.

Anyway, on the way to Crested Butte you can stop at Kenosha Pass (at over 10,000') for a nice hike on the Colorado trail.

Unfortunately on the way back we got caught in a hail/thunderstorm and Strummer had a major freak-out but hopefully if you go this won't happen to you.

When we got to Crested Butte it was raining and as the night progressed it only got heavier. The clouds over the mountains where we were planning on hiking for the day were pitch black first thing in the morning but after a nice breakfast with way more food than I normally eat in real life the sun came out and the clouds turned more white & fluffy so we decided to brave it on the Copper Creek trail. I really wanted to go back to the West Maroon Pass trail that we hiked 2 years ago but it's a bit long and very steep at the end for Cody. He probably could have done it but he wouldn't have been happy about it and might have ended up stiff and sore. So we opted for the Copper Creek trail which is supposedly busy on the weekends but on a weekday in September we saw a total of one group of 2 women and their labs. And cows. Lots of cows. And you know what else there is when there's lots of cows and it's been raining heavily all night and by now I think you can see where this is going and that we're not going to get to the end of the story without Strummer dropping and rolling in a huge pile of slimy, gooey poop. In fact he did this at the very start of the hike so at least we could try to douse him in the creek but his entire left side was covered in poop and there's only so much you can do without actually touching it. Horrible stinky dog.

Judd Falls, Copper Creek Trail

Copper Creek Trail

Cody Baloney

Princess Lola

After our beautiful hike we had to deal with Sir Stinksalot. I had noticed a dog grooming place that morning in the same building where we'd had breakfast so I started there. I was hoping they'd have a self-serve place where I could bathe him myself because I was scared of what a dog groomer in Crested Butte costs plus having a stranger bathe him would probably scare the pants off him since he already hates being bathed. The groomer woman said 'no', she would have to be the one to bathe him and she had several dogs in line in front of me. When I told her he hates being bathed so could I at least come in the room with him she said oh that will take longer and told me to take a card and call her at 5:00 pm and she'll she where she is with her bookings. As I was leaving she told me she had just the special thing that would get the poop out. I thought, 'Ummmm, that would be soap and water?' This groomer option doesn't look hopeful.

So I decided to check at the foo foo pet boutique/supply place in town to see if they had or knew of a self serve place and the woman there kind of laughed at me. 'There are only 1500 of us in town, that lady is the only groomer and we have no self-serve dog-o-mats'. I thought, 'Well, you have a store in town that sells only sunglasses' but I could see that I was getting nowhere. I thought that surely the hotel must have a hose outside somewhere and purchased the most expensive bottle of shampoo ever. $17 is what a bottle of dog shampoo costs in Crested Butte at the foo foo dog supply place. This is $5 more than the special flea/tick stuff I bought from the vet. Have any of you ever paid $17 for a bottle of shampoo for yourself? Yeah, me neither. 'Earthbath, Good for the planet, Totally Natural Pet Shampoo. Oatmeal and Aloe. Relieves itching and moisturizes dry skin.' Bottle says nothing about effectiveness against slimy cowshit but I'm hoping at these prices that it can multi-task.

I go to the grocery store to buy some cheap latex gloves so I don't have to touch the poop and I see a bottle of Hartz dog shampoo for $6.50. Argh. I'm not sure if I can return the other bottle and I don't want to be stuck with more dog shampoo so I let it go. I hardly ever bathe the dogs. I still have a bottle of dog shampoo left over from Cody's rendezvous with a skunk some 8-9 years ago. This new bottle plus the bottle I already have should easily last the rest of my lifetime and then some.

Sure enough the hotel is more than happy to let me use their hose and Strummy is not happy but he's a good boy for his bath. Jonny finds a flower laying nearby for the finishing touch.

What do you get when you cross a sheepdog with a daisy?

Here is another great thing about Crested Butte in the fall. Maybe you will wake up in the morning to a fresh powdering of snow on the surrounding peaks.

Izzy's is a good place to go for breakfast. You can get the best latkes ever with whatever you want on them. I got eggs and cheddar and avocado on mine, plus a mocha. They have good mochas at Izzy's too. Plus the cook came out himself to deliver my sumptuous latkes and personally apologize for some grease on the plate caused by the latkes sliding. Or something. I'm not quite sure what he was on about, I couldn't see any grease and, hello, latkes, they are supposed to be greasy.

After you are stuffed with latkes and caffeine you will have plenty of energy for hiking the Monarch Crest trail at Monarch Pass (starts at elevation 11,300') on your way home. It's part of the Continental Divide trail and a popular mountain biking trail but on a Wednesday in September the traffic is sparse. Maybe one day I'll get in good enough shape to come back and ride it myself. It's something like 28 miles and at such a high elevation it's a challenge.

Monarch Pass

Monarch Pass

There are more pictures from the trip here.

Today we enjoyed a mountain bike ride at Lair o' the Bear which is one of my favorite fall rides except that it gets a bit crowded on the weekends. On a Thursday though, not so much. Such a luxury to ride such a popular trail on a weekday. If only I could work 4 days a week and have one to enjoy the trails when they're quiet. One day is all I'm askin'. Ah well, I can dream.

Tomorrow will probably be a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. I could get used to this life.


  1. Beautiful pictures!!

  2. Oh, man, you and TSD going on vacation in such gorgeous places! Plus we don't have colors like yours in CA. I'm aching to get away just NOWHERE. However, I'm going to disneyland, which is SOMEWHERE and actually I can hardly wait and I will have a blast, but the dogs aren't going and it's not out in beautiful nature somewhere. Just the snow on thematterhorn. My dogs don't usually even get shampoo when they've cow-pooped themselves--just hosing until the stink is gone. They hate me. Nice photos and thanks for the experience.

  3. Great photos! I'm amazed how we live in such beautiful country yet rarely get out to the mountains.

  4. Looks great, except for the poop-o-rama. Funny enough, I just bought a bottle of EarthBath in Boulder last weekend for $15, so $17 in Crested Butte, isn't shocking.

  5. I love Earthbath. Around here it's about $13 at Petsmart. I agree, it's pricey, but the tea tree and aloe vera helps Emma a lot during her allergy season.

  6. Very nice! Jealous, as usual.