I returned to my game of chutes and ladders today, with the latter being the dominate theme. The ADT leaves Crested Butte on the Lower Loop Trail, which was not hard to find within the four square block metropolis. The land for the trail has been reclaimed from an old coal concern by the Crested Butte Land Trust (who have also taken over management of the Red Lady). The mine's refuse marred the valley and the heaps of old waste represented a fire danger. The CLBT went to work in 2005 cleaning up and restoring the site to something close to its original look. Thanks to the efforts of people like my host John Hess I observed an area now filled with hikers and bikers using the new paths. Groups of children splashed happily in the clean creek.
The rest of the hike was spent on the aforementioned ladders, climbing State River Road up to Paradise Pass. The incline was tiring, but there was no difficulty finding the relatively wide road and I didn't have to dance through the usual pile of boulders. A slight rain did dampen the mood, but a visit from my first ptarmigan and the chance to soak in the panorama of another Eden-like valley parlayed the light precipitation into a minor annoyance. \
I stopped for the day atop the Pass, between Mt Baldy (named after my friend Colin Stewart) and Mt. Cinnamon, which looks like a huge pile of the spice. I'm about halfway to Marble, my next semi-populated destination. I've got one more height to scale at Schofield Pass (this turned out to actually be lower than where I was) but I'm looking forward to mostly chutes tomorrow. No wonder I always lost at that game.
14 miles/2774 total miles