08-Oct-2021 -- During a fall weekend trip to Crested Butte with four couples and six kids, three of us guys decided to leave the house with two of the boys (both 2½ years old) to hit this confluence half an hour to our north. This would be my (Gavin's) second visit to this confluence, the first for the rest of the crew.
We drove north on Gunnison County Road 317 out of CB until turning onto an eastward dirt trail just north of Washington Gulch Campground. We drove across the East River, which was fortunately flowing pretty low, and continued another half mile along a very pitched and rutted dirt path, a fun challenge for my Mazda CX-5. We pulled off here, at a distance of 1,400 feet from the confluence as the crow flies. We scooped up the boys and set off at around 11:00am with a temperature of 43°F and light drizzle falling.
Back in 2017 I approached this confluence from the east and never needed to cross the East River nor Rustler Gulch. Coming from the west this time was quicker but necessitated a precipitous descent into Rustler Gulch, a tenuous river crossing along a pair of slippery logs (a high-stakes affair with the boys in our arms) and an immediate steep ascent up to the confluence. Much of the descent and ascent were along animal trails worn into the underbrush. "Thank you elk, wherever you are." Brody navigated us to all zeroes by about 11:30am. The boys snacked and I took the requisite pictures. The cut logs that first appeared in Joseph Kerski's visit pictures from 2005 were still there, hardly decaying. We saw no wildlife.
We returned the way we came, except for Charles, who opted to cross the river along a few stones and river gravel upstream, getting a single boot wet rather than tempting fate across the logs again. Animal scat abounded - mostly elk and cow. As we reached the dirt path again we got a chance to appreciate the expansive view, aspens in post-peak splendor, low-hanging clouds kissing the mountains around us (see final picture). It was a much different scene from July 2017 when the tall wildflowers were close to bursting; now just their husks remained. As we turned the final corner and the Mazda came into view the boys sang "Nadia, Nadia, Nadia!" (her name) and we drove back through CB to our rental house, descending back into the chaos of 8 adults, 6 kids, 2 coolers of beer, playoff baseball, college football, hot tub, baby toys, family meals, hiking/biking/running, and all the other good things you might expect out of a long vacation weekend in the Rocky Mountains in your early 30s.