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Credit Card Ride to Crested Butte

By Ann Driggers

A credit card ride is named as such because only a credit card is packed to cover ones needs. Well, that’s the theory. In reality we carried quite a bit more as our group of seven headed out from Marble to Crested Butte to spend the night and return the next day. Packs were weighed down with food and clothing for the ride, bikinis and trunks for hot tubs, extra clothing for cruising the Butte, birthday gifts for one of the group, and even a fishing pole!

Mike Curiak and Susan Kishegyi are all smiles on the way to Crested Butte.

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The ride starts in the small town of Marble and follows the road to Crystal Mill, the Devils Punchbowl and then up and over Schofield Pass. The rough 4WD road requires some hike-a-bike and a creek crossing.

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Lenore Bryant and Krissy Steele take a run at the loose and steep hill in the punchbowl but it's not long before we are reduced to this.....

Mike Steele demonstrates the art of the hike-a-bike.

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After entering Schofield Park the road flattens out and we start to motor.

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After another couple of miles we reach Schofield Pass.

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All told it is about 25 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing depending whether or not the sweet singletrack of the 401 Trailriders trail is included. In this case we opted out as the weather was looking kind of nasty and our feet were blocks of ice after the creek crossing. Still, the descent down into the Butte was very beautiful as the aspens are really starting to turn and the surrounding mountains were dusted with snow. Arriving in CB we checked into our hotel and jumped into the hot tub to warm up. Later, as we headed out into town for the evening we discovered that it was the Vinotok Festival, a medieval style celebration of harvest and the autumn equinox. Various activities took place including a parade where participants stroll in and out of bars and restaurants, singing, playing instruments and reciting tales of folklore.

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We were lucky to be serenaded while enjoying our cocktails at the Princess Bar.

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Knowing the return ride was relatively easy, our celebrations of Krissy's pending birthday and general merriment continued unabated well into the night. The next day we returned to Marble, arriving cold and drenched from virtually non-stop rain. However I managed to snap a few shots of the beautiful fall colors along the way.

A cabin in Crystal

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Rain on aspen leaf Mike Curiak has a great slideshow posted over on his blog.

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