Life Changing Skincare

Let’s talk skincare! I knew that when I got engaged, it was time to improve my skin and get it wedding ready. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about what I am doing to my skin so I wanted to share with y’all. My skincare routine is my favorite self care ritual and I love it even more now because I am seeing such great results. I have been doing this routine for about 3-4 months now and I’m just being honest, my skin has never looked better! It glows from within and I rarely break out. I credit it 100% to sticking religiously to my routine. I’ve also discovered the beauty of using acids to exfoliate the skin (AHA and BHA) which are much more effective and less irritating than manual exfoliation (scrubs, brushes, etc.). It’s truly how you achieve the glow and get rid of accumulated dead skin cells.

While there are so many options out there, it’s not easy to find a clean and clinically effective skincare routine. As a self professed product junkie, I’ve done my fair share of experimenting with supposedly good products that left my skin overly dry, red, irritated, or that just flat out did not do anything. Many popular brands often are loaded with nasty fragrances (which break down the collagen in the skin), alcohols, parabens, sulfates, and other gross irritants. Through lots of research and consulting Paula Begoun’s Beautypedia, I finally found my “holy grail” skincare routine. I use a combination of products from Drunk Elephant, Paula’s Choice, and EltaMd. Mostly Drunk Elephant products. I love literally everything they make. What first drew me to the brand, other than the raving reviews, was the cute, colorful, and airless packaging. This is SO important! That Vitamin C, E, AHA/BHA, antioxidants, etc. all become much less effective/unstable when they are exposed to oxygen. That’s what we pay the big bucks for so definitely invest in a brand that packages their products correctly and sanitarily! All their products are made in the U.S.A. which is important to me and they are extremely committed to providing clean and clinically effective products. Good skincare is not cheap and cheap skincare is not good. In my opinion, it is smarter to invest in skincare so you don’t need as much makeup!

The only product you cannot purchase online or in store, is the retinoic acid which is a prescription you have to get from a dermatologist. I am currently using only .025% retinoic acid which is super weak but if you don’t want your skin to peel and flake everywhere, start with a low strength and work your way up. I am probably going to bump mine up next time I go to the dermatologist. Also, to all my deep south friends and family, I would definitely suggest not using this many moisturizing products if you live where it’s humid. When I was in Louisiana, I only used the B-Hydra as my moisturizer. This is what works for me living in Colorado where it’s super dry and arid. FYI, this post is not sponsored.

MORNING:

  1. Lather and cleanse with Drunk Elephant Pekee Bar (white) and pat dry
  2. Apply a thin layer of Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid with a cotton pad and let dry
  3. Apply 1 pump Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum (this stuff is the BOMB!)
  4. Apply 1-2 pumps Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel
  5. Push a few drops of Drunk Elephant Marula Oil into skin
  6. Apply 1 pump EltaMd UV Clear SPF 46

NIGHT:

  1. Lather and cleanse with Drunk Elephant JuJu Bar (black/brown) and pat dry
  2. Apply a thin layer of Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid with a cotton pad and let dry
  3. 4 nights a week- apply 1 pump Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum // 3 nights a week- mix pea size amount of retinoic acid with 1 pump of Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream (alternating nights) 
  4. Push a few drops of Drunk Elephant Marula Oil into skin (especially around eye area) 

I also just tried Drunk Elephant’s newest product, Baby Facial, which is a super strong mask to be used once a week. I have only used it once and absolutely love it!! Most masks sting the crap out of my skin and leave it super dry but this one the total opposite. My skin felt baby soft after and I definitely saw my complexion improve. 

Thanksgiving & Engagement Festivities

For Thanksgiving, Tyler and I went down to southern Louisiana to see my family! It’s always so good to be home. Tyler’s mom and step dad even came down from Virginia to join us and to meet all my family! We had our first Thanksgiving all together– brunch at my mom’s & dinner at my dad’s new house in the country which was very special. The land has been in our family for over 100 years so it is my favorite place! Tyler even killed his first deer there!! It was a 208 lbs 9 point buck, pretty dang good for a first deer. I’m so proud of him! We all went out on a search party at night to find the deer and it was so much fun. Props to my brother for finding it in the thicket of brush. My dad is getting all the meat processed into sausage and jerky and we are going to get the antlers mounted on some driftwood for our home! I think Tyler has the hunting bug now haha.

My sweet grandmother and aunts hosted a bridal shower for me the day after Thanksgiving and it was absolutely lovely. The food was delicious and it was so fun to get together just girls and open some fun gifts. Then the next evening, a bunch of my bridesmaids parents and other family friends threw a super fun engagement/announcement party for us! It was like a big reunion of all my friends from high school/home. It was definitely a busy and exhausting week but lots of unforgettable memories!

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Engagement Pictures

We recently got our engagement pictures back from our wedding photographer and they’re so sweet! I love every single one and they will always be special to me. We took these in late October up Flagstaff Mountain at Lost Gulch Overlook. It was such a beautiful, and exceptionally warm day, to take photos. Our photographer was excellent and she captured our love and sense of adventure so well. I will definitely cherish these forever! They make me so happy. Luckily wedding planning has been easy and stress free thus far which is such a blessing. Our engagement is already flying by. Only about 7 more months until we tie the knot! We are celebrating our engagement with family and friends down in Louisiana next week so we are excited about that! Tyler and I are happier and closer than ever. Get ready for a love overload!!

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Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

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Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

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Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

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Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

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Colorado Springs Engagement Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer-Colorado Springs Wedding Photography-Colorado Springs Engagement Photography-Colorado Engagement Session-Tina Joiner Photography-www.tinajoinerphotography.com-Colorado Engagement Photographer-Boulder Engagment Photographer

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Wedding Dress Shopping + Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver day!! My mom came to Colorado for a long weekend to help me pick out my wedding dress…YAY! I had an appointment at Emma & Grace Bridal in the Five Points/Curtis Park area of Denver so we decided to make a day out of it. Tyler and I rarely go to Denver (blame it on the Boulder bubble) so it was really fun to explore the city. Tyler and Joe went to the Denver Nature and Science museum while my mom and I picked out my something new! Emma & Grace is an adorable studio with a relaxed, welcoming vibe. Everyone was so nice and Lynn was especially helpful. I went in there with literally no clue what I wanted and within trying on 6 or 7 dresses, I already had it narrowed down to 3!! It was like she read my mind haha. I am a pretty quick shopper so we were in and out of there in about 40 minutes. I am seriously in love with the dress I picked out and cannot wait to wear it on my wedding day!! It’s perfect. After we found my dress, the boys picked us up and we celebrated at a nearby Mexican restaurant on the rooftop patio with margs and tacos!

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After lunch, we all went to the Denver Botanic Gardens! I cannot believe I’ve lived here for 5 years and have never been…It’s SO magical! We all loved it and want to go back. There so many little gardens and paths, I could get lost in there all day. I was obsessing over the beautiful dahlias and water lilies. The Japanese gardens were also incredible and serene. I highly recommend going if you’ve never been or if you are visiting the Denver area!

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Garden of the Gods

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We took a day trip to Colorado Springs this weekend! We’ve passed through on road trips but never really spent much time so it was nice to explore a new part of Colorado. The Springs are at higher elevation than Boulder and has a more western feel. We hiked the main loop trail at Garden of the Gods and it was stunning! The rock formations are towering and bright red. It’s a must see if you’re in the area. Pikes Peak sure makes for a gorgeous backdrop! We also drive through Manitou Springs and hiked around. We love the Springs and definitely plan on coming back!

Sourdough Einkorn Country Loaf

So you may be wondering why we are doing a post on making a sourdough boule considering grains are not paleo and we mostly eat a paleo diet. This particular grain, einkorn, is exceptional because it is over 10,000 years old (some think it’s even older). Einkorn is the only non-hybridized wheat so it is truly an ancestral food. Unlike modern/conventional wheat, einkorn is high in protein and fats, with a low glycemic index. We freshly mill our whole, organic einkorn berries in our Vitamix and then we ferment it with wild Boulder yeast. We prefer to mill the whole berries so it keeps the whole bran and wheat germ oil intact. Since we ferment before baking, this bread contains many prebiotics, metabiotics, and lactobacilli spores which basically act as probiotics in our gut. The sourdough product is lower in the naturally occurring wheat starches and sugars The final product is super protein and nutrient dense and has little gluten. It’s seriously the most filling, delicious bread that gives us lots of energy!

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organic whole einkorn berries from Italy ready to be milled

Organic whole einkorn berries from Italy ready to be milled!

our sourdough starters!

We currently have two sourdough starters; Boulder and San Francisco. We started our Boulder sourdough by capturing wild yeast in the air. We mixed einkorn flour with water in an open mason jar by an open window overnight. This allow the wild yeast to colonize and then we kept feeding it with more flour and water until it became a sourdough starter (thick pancake batter consistency). If anyone is interested in some sourdough starter, please comment below or email us and we will send you some in the mail or if you would like this recipe! It’s a complex process that takes patience to master but we have really been enjoying this healthy grain in our diet.

milling the whole einkorn berries in our Vitamix

Milling the whole einkorn berries in our Vitamix.

sifting the milled flour

Sifting the milled flour.

shaped dough

Shaping dough.

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I find that a 4 quart dutch oven works best for this size loaf (8 inch).

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Fresh out of the oven.

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That’s what I am talking about!

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As you can see, the result is a perfectly chewy and crackily country loaf that has an extremely complex flavor.

Our favorite, and cheapest source of organic einkorn wheat berries: Jovial Einkorn Wheat Berries 160 Oz (10 Lb)

Green Smoothie

I created a delicious & nutritious green smoothie in my Vitamix that I want to share with y’all! I have the Vitamix 750 Professional Series and it is seriously a life changer! It was a huge investment but probably one of the best I’ve made thus far because I use it at least 2-3 times a day. It does everything- smoothies, nice cream, sauces, condiments, soups, nut butters, nut cheeses, nut milks, grinds whole grains, and sooo much more. It can also make baby food so I’m excited to do that with it one day!

This creamy green smoothie is loaded with antioxidants, plant based protein, ripe fruit, fiber, and healthy fats! It’s the perfect balance of nutrients. I feel like I hit the sweet spot with this green smoothie because it’s not overloaded with fruit or greens but has just the right amount of both. Make sure to blend it really really well until it’s completely homogeneous because there is nothing grosser than chunks of kale in your smoothie. Add a few ice cubes in towards the end because the blender does heat up its continents after blending on high for a while.

here is what you’ll need:

  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup hemp milk or nut milk of your choice
  • few drops of raw honey/agave/maple syrup (optional)
  • few ice cubes
  • high powered blender (Vitamix is the way to go)

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Boreas Pass Camping Trip

Over the weekend we camped at the summit of Boreas Pass near Breckenridge in Summit County! We were all itching for an extended dose of mother nature so we packed our packs and hit the road. Spontaneous camping trips are so fun! It was not a far drive from the Boulder/Denver area at all and it was so incredibly beautiful! We camped pretty much right at tree line so around 11,000 ft. There were even still a few patches of pink (bacteria) snow on the mountains. We found the perfect camping spot nestled in the trees with a stunning panoramic view. There were tons of wild bluebells, indian paintbrushes, and purple daises all around. We ate completely paleo while camping- cashews, apples, sliced turkey, hard boiled eggs, and cracklins/pork rinds. It’s most efficient to bring protein rich foods backpacking and camping. I love unplugging and running around with Tyler and Waldo in the mountains!

home is wherever we are together
home is wherever we are together
view from our spot
view from our spot
that little grey spot in the middle is our tent tucked away
that little grey spot in the middle is our tent tucked away
their love is the cutest
their love is the cutest
waldo feeling the camp vibes!
waldo feeling the camp vibes!
sun going down on the mountains
sun going down on the mountains
tent chilling
tent chilling
waldo & mommy snuggles
waldo & mommy snuggles (note the gun in the tent pocket–I am one protected woman between myself, my man, my bulldog, and our gun!)
one of my favorite pictures of us!
one of my favorite pictures of us!
ty snapped this artsy but awesome shot of me
ty snapped this artsy but awesome shot of me
running wild
running wild
waldo was definitely posing here
waldo was definitely posing here

 

sunset
sunset

Recap of Aspen vacay + life lately

I want to share some more pics from our Aspen vacation and from my Dad’s wedding on top of Aspen mountain! We had so much fun. It was great for our family to all be together in such a beautiful place. We ate lots of good food, drank lots of champagne & sparking rosé, enjoyed the Aspen farmer’s market, tubed the Roaring Fork river, some daredevils of the group (not me haha) cliff jumped at Devil’s bathtub, and just relaxed! The Roaring Fork valley is definitely a special and stunning place. I feel like it’s necessary for me to take a week off from work a few times a year just to unplug and get back in touch with myself and my family.

Tyler & I at the Little Nell after my Dad & Heather got married
Tyler & I at the Little Nell after my Dad & Heather got married
me, our grandmother Lele, and my cousin Katherine Ann on top of Aspen mountain!
me, our grandmother Lele, and my cousin Katherine Ann on top of Aspen mountain!
My beautiful cousin & I !! We look like sisters!
My beautiful cousin & I !! We look like sisters!
obligatory flower crown selfie before the wedding
obligatory flower crown selfie before the wedding
view of the Elk Mountains from the top of Aspen mountain
view of the Elk Mountains from the top of Aspen mountain
Tyler & I at the Creperie du Village in downtown Aspen! It was so delicious. Highly recommend if you visit Aspen to eat here! Get the beef bourguignon crepe and rosé
Tyler & I at the Creperie du Village in downtown Aspen! It was so delicious. Highly recommend if you visit Aspen to eat here! Get the beef bourguignon crepe and rosé!
Tyler, Kat, and I!
Tyler, Kat, and I!
Katherine Ann, Morgan (my step-sister), and I at the Red Onion Saloon in downtown Aspen! Blondes are the best.
Katherine Ann, Morgan (my step-sister), and I at the Red Onion Saloon in downtown Aspen! Blondes are the best.
treating myself on vacation
treating myself on vacation
rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon!
rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon!
tube crew
tube crew
tubing the Roaring Fork River...which at this section was not exactly roaring haha hence me trying to paddle
tubing the Roaring Fork River…which at this section was not exactly roaring haha hence me trying to paddle
this living flower wall at The Little Nell is too awesome...see the snow capped mountains?!?
this living flower wall at The Little Nell is too awesome…see the snow capped mountains?!?
I think this was everyone's favorite spot while in Aspen...the hammock we hung up in the backyard between 2 aspen trees! Something about hammocks just makes me soooo relaxed.
I think this was everyone’s favorite spot while in Aspen…the hammock we hung up in the backyard between 2 aspen trees! Something about hammocks just makes me soooo relaxed.
Love spending quality time with my awesome Dad!
Love spending quality time with my awesome Dad!

Now more of life lately since we got back from Aspen! Life has been SO wonderful lately…there is truly so much to be grateful for every single day we wake up!! I love summertime in Colorado, pretty much everyday is gorgeous with the occasional afternoon shower which puts me in such a relaxed state. I also got a raise at my job!! I was super stoked on this because it’s the first real promotion/raise I’ve ever received!! Maybe that’s TMI for the blog but whatever, this is a place where I can share stuff like that. Waldo has been so sweet and snuggly per usual which I absolutely adore about him. It’s pretty amazing that I have a 105 lb. lap dog who looks intimidating but is actually a huge, spoiled baby.

Tyler and I were not exactly good about keeping to Paleo when we were on vacation…we were bad haha. It’s always really hard to unless we are the only ones which is not often the case. But what matters the most is how fast and how well you bounce back after having some cheat meals. We immediately resumed back to strict Paleo upon returning home and I feel sooo much better!! I mean yeah that ice cream cone made me feel awesome at the time but afterwards I felt fat and I did not feel great physically. Instances like that remind me why we eat Paleo in the first place; we just feel better. This week we kind of started to transition to low-carb Paleo (with one Paleo sweet treat a week- on Sundays!). We are doing this to help us both cut down our weights (not the number on the scale but the fat on our bodies) so that we look good for upcoming events and for our wedding!! Operation wedding body begins. For diet, we will be sticking to strict Paleo, low-carb with some built in cheat meals. For exercise, I will continue to go to my CorePower classes and do more sculpt and circuit classes. We are also going to join a gym near our house because it is most accessible for us and we both need to start lifting more weights! I love my yoga so dearly and I could never go without it but my body has really been craving more cardio and weights sooo gym here I come! I am also thinking about doing ClassPass where I can go to a bunch of different yoga, pilates, barre, and kickboxing studios. If anyone has ever done ClassPass, let me know how you like it because I am really interested! Comment below.

Tyler and I have also been doing a lot of wedding planning! Our venue is set for our ceremony and reception at Chautauqua. We booked our wedding and engagement photographer, Tina Joiner, who does great work. We’re taking engagement pictures in mid September!! We reserved a block of rooms at the St. Julien for our guests. Other guests will stay at the Chautauqua cottages and cabins. I made an appointment to go look for my wedding dress in Denver at this super cute place called Emma & Grace Bridal!! I am so excited!! My hairdresser and her sister got their dresses from there and they are so pretty. My mom and Tyler’s mom are going to fly up to help me pick out my something new! My bridesmaids and I have also been discussing my bachelorette trip. We are thinking Napa and I literally couldn’t be more pumped!! I am looking at my countdown app right now and we are exactly 10 months and 26 days out from the wedding!!! This is probably the most exciting time of my life. Ever. There are already 2 events planned thus far (other than the wedding obviously) which are: bridal shower the day after Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge at my awesome aunt’s house and announcement/engagement party the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge at one of my sweet bridesmaid’s houses!! Both parties will be so much fun and I can’t wait to see all my friends and family. Here are some pics from life lately!

Me and my giant baby! Caught him mid-yawn.
Me and my giant baby! Caught him mid-yawn.
Had to take a selfie because for the first time in my entire life, I found a lipstick that I actually like! Most of them make me feel/look like a clown but this liquid matte lipstick is the bomb.
Had to take a selfie because for the first time in my entire life, I found a lipstick that I actually like! Most of them make me feel/look like a clown but this liquid matte lipstick is the bomb.
Making homemade hemp milk in the Vitamix! Hemp milk is so nutritious and definitely the healthiest of all nut milks. We don't strain ours so that it keeps the whole food in tact.
Making homemade hemp milk in my Vitamix! Hemp milk is so nutritious and definitely the healthiest of all nut milks. We don’t strain ours so that it keeps the whole food in tact.
Waldo was looking too cute in Tyler's hat! Make America great again!
Waldo was looking too cute in Tyler’s hat! Make America great again!
Another work selfie because I'm obsessed with this shirt and the only colors I wore this day were blue, white, and blonde!
Another work selfie because I’m obsessed with this shirt and the only colors I wore this day were blue, white, and blonde!
Here is a healthy treat that I have been loving lately!! Coconut water & whole fruit pops.
Here is a healthy treat that I have been loving lately!! Coconut water & whole fruit pops.

Maroon Bells

The #1 thing we wanted to do while in Aspen was to hike the Maroon Bells! It’s the most photographed place in Colorado and for good reason. It’s been on my Colorado to do/bucket list for years now. I was seriously in awe the whole time just soaking up the vast beauty of the lush valley surrounded by 14,000 ft peaks and aspen groves.

My brother Robson, Tyler, and I parked at Aspen Highlands and took the local bus up to Maroon Lake. The bus comes every 15-20 minutes and they do this to limit the traffic that drives over the aspen groves root system. Not sure if this is really true or not haha because we saw a few RV’s and other cars driving up so I think they just do it to limit the number of people parking at the trail head. We were actually glad that Waldo was not with us on this hike because the bus was pretty crowded and standing room only by the time we got on.

Maroon Lake is stunningly beautiful! It’s turquoise blue-green and crystal clear. The wildflowers were blooming EVERYWHERE. Again, I am obsessed with Colorado’s wildflowers- we saw daisies, columbines, lupines, Indian paint brushes, blue & purple bells, berry patches, sunflowers, etc. It was a wildflower wonderland. I love fresh flowers but I am pretty conscious and respectful about not picking them so that everyone can enjoy them and so that I don’t disturb the natural habitat. The massive, snowy peaks behind Maroon Lake are breathtaking.

wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
wildflowers approaching Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake
Maroon Lake
Maroon Bells lovin'!
Maroon Bells lovin’!
Maroon Bells in the summer
Maroon Bells in the summer

We hit the trail and headed up past Maroon Lake to Crater Lake. It’s a 3.6 mile round trip hike. The elevation gain is not too bad at all (less than 1,000 ft) but the trail had a lot of loose rocks on it so you have to watch your footing the whole time which is nothing new (thank you hiking boots/ankle support). We passed multiple huge aspen groves on the way to Crater Lake. Crater Lake was even more beautiful than Maroon Lake! It was a more vibrant turquoise and I spotted about 5 waterfalls up on the cliffs and peaks! It’s pretty much right at the treeline. We found a nice log and chilled by Crater Lake for a while just absorbing the beauty and high country sun. Robson decided to head back down the trail at this point but Tyler and I continued on West Maroon Trail which is a pass that can actually take you all the way to Crested Butte. We obviously didn’t go that far (that is a multi-day backpacking excursion) but we hiked probably another mile or 2 beyond the peaks and into the valley. The crowd thinned out significantly after Crater Lake (I think we only saw like 2 other people) so that was nice because the rest of the trail was pretty crowded. West Maroon Trail is prime bear and moose territory so we stayed alert and had our eyes and ears open the whole time. We crossed over creeks and rock fields, hiked waist deep in wildflowers, and got great views of huge waterfalls on the cliff sides. Highly suggest West Maroon Trail! Overall, the Maroon Bells were amazing and unforgettable. If you are ever in the Aspen area, go see and hike them! We might even have to go back in the fall when all the aspens turn bright yellow.

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in White River National Forest
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness in White River National Forest
surrounded by peaks in all directions
surrounded by peaks in all directions
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aspen groves galore
looking back on Maroon Lake from
looking back on Maroon Lake from the trail
approaching Crater Lake
approaching Crater Lake
wild columbines
wild columbines
Crater Lake
Crater Lake
Crater Lake with my love
Crater Lake with my love
2 tier waterfall on the cliff side
2 tier waterfall on the cliff side
castles in the sky
castles in the sky
West Maroon Trail/Pass
West Maroon Trail/Pass
waterfalls, canyon walls
waterfalls, canyon walls
We live in paradise! West Maroon Trail
We live in paradise! West Maroon Trail