July 8, 2016
Doesn't a name like Oh Be Joyful entice you to come and play? That's exactly what we did yesterday. To find this wonderful piece of heaven, take Hwy 135 (Gothic Road) north through Crested Butte and turn left on Slate River Rd. Drive 4.5 to 5 miles on a well maintained dirt road and look for the Oh Be Joyful Campground and trail sign.
At the bottom of the hill you can cross the river if your vehicle has enough clearance and park on the other side.
|Joe, Scott, Zuni, Chris and Shannon|
When we reached the falls, the trail mostly flattens out and becomes much narrower.
Shortly after, we crossed the wilderness boundary.
From here the miles are endless as you traverse a narrow path through the glacial valley. Our hike was 7 miles roundtrip in/out.
We enjoyed the shade, fragrance and dampness from patches of evergreens and aspens along the way.
But mostly I fancied the wide-open meadows with it's lush greenery, splashes of color and grandiose views.
I am trying really hard not to duplicate the wildflowers.
This is Mountain Parlsey...one of the longest blooming mountain flowers.
This is Sneezeweed...named for the use of its dried and powdered flowers in snuff. I love the droopy flowers !
Distort flowers wave in tight clusters a foot above most low-growing tundra flowers. Bears, elk and rodents find the ropey roots to be tasty.
Horsemint Beebalm is a magnet for bees and butterflies.
This is Mountain Harebell...commonly found in dry open meadows.
After lunch back at the Oh Be Joyful Campground, we headed up Gunsight Pass (just off Slate River Road close to where we were.) with Scott and Chris. This is not a trail in Charles' Wells guide. It was an old mining road. Today it basically zig-zags up to the pass and is mainly used by bikers and 4WD vehicles. About a mile from the top, the trail ends with a sign that recommends you not go past for your own safety.
Scott leads the way...
A beautiful view of the glacial valley we just hiked...
If you look closely, you can see the trail winding around the back side of Mount Emmons...its the yellow looking line going center to right.
At the point where we could not go any farther, we stopped to play...
...and just take it all in.
Until next time, happy days...