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Everywhere you look in Crested Butte, signs of summer are popping up! The sun is shining, purple lupine blossoms are blooming, golden glacier lilies are unfolding their petals, and birds are chirping from their nests. While the summer landscape in Crested Butte offers the same unchanging beauty you’ve grown to know and love, this year’s Wildflower Festival will incorporate some changes to help ensure the safety of the Wildflower Festival Community. Thank you for joining us in following these guidelines to keep the Community we love as healthy as possible:
Social Distancing: Let’s Stand Together – 6 Feet Apart!
The CDC tells us unequivocally that keeping folks from separate parties 6 feet apart is the best thing we can do to keep all staff and participants healthy and safe. Of course, family and friends who are part of the same reservation party may choose to keep closer company. However, all participants must maintain a distance of 6 feet between themselves and Festival staff, guides, and participants from separate groups. While it may feel strange at first to keep each other at two times your arm’s length, keeping our distance physically is a sign that we care for each other’s safety and health. Staying apart shows how close we really are!
Mandatory Face Coverings: Wearing is Caring!
The most recent Public Health Order from Gunnison County requires mask wearing in public both indoors and outdoors at events like the Wildflower Festival. The stunning wildflower bandanas in our Blossom Boutique are one fun option for embracing the Wildflower Festival theme while keeping your fellow participants healthy – you can purchase one at registration or from our friends at Boulder Bandanas here. We recommend bringing your own reusable face covering, as you will need to wear a mask throughout your time in Crested Butte. However, we will also have complementary disposable masks available at registration. Whatever option you choose, please keep in mind that masks or bandanas must cover both your nose and mouth to be effective!
No Carpooling at This Year’s Festival: You Get to Take the Wheel!
As we do every year, the Festival has planned for all events to begin at a predetermined meeting point in Crested Butte. Participants will then caravan out to the trailhead where the fun can really start! Of course, members of the same household and family and friends who are part of the same reservation party may choose to ride together. However, due to social distancing requirements, the Festival will not be able to encourage carpooling among participants who are not part of the same reservation party. So please jump behind the wheel of your own vehicle and enjoy the thrill of the open road as you join the group caravan from the meeting point to the trailhead. Please keep in mind we are reaching out to all participants enrolled in hikes that require a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the trailhead.
Here at the Wildflower Headquarters, we understand that change can be hard. But the few small changes we’ve outlined above will have a big impact on the health and safety of our entire community. If you have additional questions about the precautions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the 2020 Festival, please view our 2020 Operating Plan here. You can also learn more about community monitoring of COVID-19 in the Gunnison Valley from the County’s infographic here. As always, your friendly Wildflower Festival team is ready to answer your questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know which flowers are blooming now and where to find them? You’ve come to the right place.
Each summer, the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival sponsors the Bloom Blast on the Gunnison Valley’s local KBUT radio station. Check in weekly as we’ll upload each Bloom Blast as they air! Want to listen to more local radio? Tune in to 90.3 FM in Crested Butte and 88.7 FM in Gunnison, or listen live ONLINE!
The Crown Jewel of the Rockies
With colorful fields of wildflowers, jagged, imposing peaks, and hundreds of miles of trails, Crested Butte has become known for its exceptional natural beauty and its presence as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts over the past decades. As more and more people flock to the area to enjoy all it has to offer, it may seem like there are few places to enjoy the solitude and peace that can only be found in the mountains. Luckily, Crested Butte offers some “hidden gem” locations that still offer an enjoyable getaway without the crowds.
At over 13,000’ in elevation, the Ruby Range looms several thousand feet above Lake Irwin and offers panoramic views of the surrounding Ragged Wilderness. In addition to the views, the Ruby Range also sees a wide variety of high alpine blooms in the grassy fields that climb to the summits. Alpine Forget-Me-Nots, Rosy Paintbrush, and Blue Flax are just a few of the colorful flowers that make the strenuous hiking all the more worthwhile. The Ruby Range is a relatively quiet Crested Butte area, making it especially appealing to those looking to avoid the crowds while setting getting the chance to enjoy alpine blooms and unbeatable mountain views.
Across the valley and several thousand feet lower in elevation, Emerald Lake is several miles west of Gothic and is one of the most unique and beautiful lakes in the area. The water truly is emerald in color, and a donated canoe waits on the shore for any explorers interested in paddling. The surrounding cliffs and hillsides are also a lush green, and the vegetation found here is punctuated by a wide variety of colorful sub-alpine blooms including Blue Columbines, Scarlet Gilias, and Mule’s Ears Sunflowers. It’s hard to do the area justice through taking pictures, but the solitude and beauty of this area, in addition to the high volume of blooms is enough to create memories that last a lifetime.
During the busy summer months, it may seem like there’s nowhere to go to find the elusive peace that is harbored in the heart of the mountains. As the crowds continue to flock to well-known locations like Mt. Crested Butte and Washington Gulch, visitors shouldn’t be afraid to expand their wilderness horizons and explore areas that are located a bit further off the grid. Emerald Lake and the Ruby Range truly are hidden “gems” in this area and are sure to impress any visitors hoping to enjoy Crested Butte away from the crowds.
Written by: Katie Lyons, CBWF Customer Care Specialist
Fairies Spotted on Lower Loop!
June has officially kicked off and summer is starting to arrive in Crested Butte. Many local trails are in summer condition and snow is melting away fast in the high country. Believe it or not, we are also starting to see our first blooms along the trails and roadsides in Crested Butte! Once again, the vibrant colors of lupines, glacier lilies, red columbines, and mule’s ears are beginning to cover the hillsides and prove to Colorado once again why Crested Butte is the official Wildflower Capital of the state. Additionally, local fauna is beginning to make its appearance after a long winter of hibernation and migration. Foxes, deer, and even an occasional black bear have been routinely spotted on Crested Butte trails! The natural beauty surrounding CB is moving closer to its peak, and should be in full swing by the beginning of July.
There is quite possibly no better way to experience the natural wonders of Crested Butte than hiking along one of the hundreds of miles of trails. Lower Loop is just one of these trails, but it is one of the most popular in the area, and for good reason; the views of the Elk Mountains looming above the Slate River Valley are enough to take anyone’s breath away (in case the altitude wasn’t doing that already). The trail winds along the Slate River, passing through grassy valleys, aspen forests, and through colorful fields of wildflowers.
This year, Lower Loop is providing some of the best wildflower viewing in all of Crested Butte. In addition to the multitude of lupines, bluebells and columbines, the elusive Fairy Slipper Orchid has made her appearance along this trail as well! These small blooms are easy to miss, but an astute observer will definitely notice the pinks and yellows of this delicate flower among the endless summer greens. It goes without saying that Crested Butte is a magical place, and having fairies in our backyard is certainly the cherry on top!
These early blooms are just the beginning of what’s looking to be a wonderful year for wildflower viewing. The coming weeks will tell what rare and beautiful flowers will bloom next in Crested Butte. Mark your calendars! The 2018 festival starts in less than one month, and we would love to have you here to enjoy the magic.
Our 2018 Customer Care Specialist, avid trail runner, and wildflower enthusiast!
CBWF – Tell us about your Crested Butte connection? What brought you here? Where did you grow up?
DC – I grew up in Savannah Georgia, I moved to Colorado to attend graduate school
for painting at CSU. I met Shaun Horne and started painting outdoors, after I graduated I wanted to live in a ski town. Shaun had already lived in Crested Butte and thought it would be a wonderful place to ski and paint, and it has been!
CBWF – Tell us about your experience becoming an “artist”? Any cool experiences to share with other, perhaps “budding” artists?
DC – The life experience so far has had its ups and downs. The main security I have as an artist is that I love my time while I am painting. I always feel motivated to make another painting better than the one before. The financial side of being an artist is a rocky road, I try to stay focused and believe that all the time and love I put into my passion will eventually pay.
CBWF – You won the 2008 poster contest and that was a very popular poster. How have you grown as an artist since then?
DC – I have been painting full time since 2008. So, my ability to
describe landscape with paint has gotten stronger. With descriptive painting your skill is tied closely to your level of practice, and I see that in my own work.
CBWF – Tell us about your family, your passions, your job/work, hobbies?
DC – I have 3 beautiful daughters that I am very proud of. Linda age 15, and Essie age 13, are very accomplished musicians. I have always hoped that by watching Shaun and I work hard, practice, and a lot of joy and laughter would inspire them to become great at what they love to do. Monet, age 3, is a complete delight. She was a surprise to our family but an amazing spirit and a charming addition. My main hobby is dancing, I danced a lot growing up and I have a strong connection with music. I listen to music while I paint, with my family, and I enjoy moving to music.
CBWF – Anything else you’d like to share?
DC – The wild flowers in Crested Butte are the most
inspiring subject for me to paint. Every summer I love running around the town and the
mountains in search of the most color and flowers! It is an endless discovery and I am so proud to represent this for the wildflower festival poster, Thank-You!!!
The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival Board of Directors is happy to announce that the winner of the 2016 Wildflower Festival’s Poster Contest is Karen Divine. This poster is a unique, creative blend of Crested Butte icons – wildflowers, fences, and mountains – and evokes a strong feeling of nostalgia. For the Board of Directors, this image captures the enduring qualities of our valley and is the perfect compliment for the Festival’s 30th Anniversary. Recently, we spoke with Karen about her inspiration for this piece, and about her connection to Crested Butte. Here’s what she had to say.
CBWF: Your image for the 2016 poster is so interesting. Tell us about what inspired you, and what you did to create such a unique image?
KD: I hadn’t spent much time in Crested Butte for several years so being here for 10 days last summer reminded me of all that I loved about this unique town. Every day I hiked with my two friends from England, and seeing things fresh through their eyes, I was truly overwhelmed by the beauty and the peacefulness. I fell back in love with it so I decided to create an image for the Wildflower Festival. I used about 10 images I took last summer with my iPhone to create the image and then finished it using Photoshop. I like imagery that isn’t literal and that requires you to hang in and keep looking. I like images that evoke some kind of emotional response. I wanted to create a “feeling” about being here.
CBWF: iPhone photography is getting very popular. You taught iPhone photography classes at the 2015 Festival. Will you teach again in 2016?
KD: Last year I taught two beginning iPhoneography Workshops and had a blast. I’ll be teaching again in 2016, offering full-day workshops out in the wilderness where we’ll get beyond the basics and begin creating not only beautiful single images, but also those using layering and composites.
CBWF: What’s your Crested Butte connection and what brought you here?
KD: Around 1986 my husband, Rick, and I were looking for a place to buy a second home, something small and in the West. He had been here several times before and introduced me to it. I fell in love with the town so we purchased a small house and proceeded to come out for the summer and winter vacations. We were living in Atlanta at the time with our three kids but we didn’t want to raise them there. In 1996 we moved here full time and all five of us, plus two dogs, lived in our 900 ft2 A-frame for the first year until we built a new house. It was perfect. Later, in 2006, we moved to Boulder and are still here.
CBWF: Tell us about your family, your passions, your work?
KD: I have three fantastic kids here in Colorado, all involved in their own unique creative endeavors: dance, music production and various business ventures. I’m very lucky and grateful that they are close by. I teach at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in Santa Fe and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, as well as at Maine Media in the summers. I also take small groups to explore India. I’m currently working on a screenplay, discovering another way of telling a story visually. I’m always learning.
CBWF: How did you become an “artist”?
KD: After learning photography in the early 70’s, I decided that to express myself through art would be the ultimate accomplishment. At the time, I didn’t want to be a professional artist or photographer because I wanted to keep my art personal, just for me. I wanted it to be about self-discovery. I studied everywhere with anyone whose work I enjoyed, I studied basic fundamentals of art as well as alternative photography, painting. I did it all. In 2007 I decided to step out of my shell and entered an International Photography Contest to see if anyone else would respond to my work. I had no idea if what I was doing was considered “good”. I won and continued to win many contests for years. When I realized I could do similar creations on my iPhone, I transferred my compositional skills to the iPhone. Social media pushed me to the forefront of this movement. It’s a very exciting medium and opens the creative door for many who otherwise might not have tapped into it.
The Festival’s 2016 poster is really a collaboration of talents. Karen provided the image and the layout was done by Kathy Amen, a long-time local and graphic artist now living in Fort Collins. Kathy worked for B&B Printing in Gunnison for many years before moving to the Front Range. She is the owner of Kathy Amen Design and a life-long artist who creates incredible silk paintings of her passion – wild horses.
The Wildflower Festival will honor these two creative ladies at the Wildflower Happy Hour on Monday, July 18 from 5-7 pm at Elevation Hotel’s 9380 Restaurant. The poster is a perfect gift, costs $20, and is available at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, Gunnison Gallery, Handworks, Paragon Gallery, Pema Dawa, Rijks Family Gallery, and online at www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com.