June 27, 2017 – Hiking Butler Gulch

Butler Gulch is a 4.8-mile trail in Clear Creek County just west of Idaho Springs (and St. Mary’s Glacier). We climbed to a point just below the treeline at 11,400 feet above sea level. We stopped before reaching the top because of adverse hiking conditions. For much of the way up, we scrambled off-trail through rugged terrain.

After, we visited Empire for a memorable lunch, we returned home.

Jeniffer Orda ascends the Butler Gulch trail over snowy terrain.
bg-muddy trail
The trail was a mix of rocks and mud, mud and snow and trails wiped out by rushing water.
bg-trail snow
Snow covered much of the trail
Crystal clear water rushes down from the mountain top.
bg-trail washout
The water raced across the trail in many places. Where we couldn’t ford the creek, we “scrambled,” freelancing our way up steep inclines, over fallen trees and across drifted snow.
One of the many beautiful wildflowers.
My beautiful partner in crime, Jeniffer.
Okay, so as we got to the height of our trek, we were greeted by this energetic old golden retriever, hiking well ahead of her mom and dad. Here, the pup seems to be asking her masters, “Are you coming, or what?”
I don’t think she’s taking me seriously.


Empire, CO. Down the street (Rt. 40), you can see The Hard Rock Cafe. Not that Hard Rock Cafe. We walked in, and Jeniffer moved a bus pan of silverware to make room for us at the bar. The bartender, a young man, asked, “Didn’t you read the sign?” He had a sunburned stripe across his forehead and a red semi-circle above that, indicating that he wore his hat backwards for a long period of time. And, he had a bad haircut. Jeniffer: You mean the sign that said not to move the silverware? Barkeep: No, the sign that says you need to wait before being seated. We walked past the two occupied tables and three people at the bar back to the front of the cafe. I checked the sign, and when I turned, Jeniffer was already out the door. We walked across the street to the Dairy King where we enjoyed delicious burgers and I had a freshly made chocolate malt.
Unlike her counterpart across the street, our server, Liza, could not have been more friendly. The food was fresh and delicious. Not surprisingly, Dairy King was doing a much brisker lunch business than the Hard Rock.

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