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!
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!
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.
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.
Tyler and I recently arrived to Aspen for our family vacation/my dad’s wedding (which is today at The Little Nell up on the mountain- another post on that to come). The first full day here we hiked and explored the Grottos!! It was so freaking cool!! It’s up Independence Pass (probably the world’s most beautiful pass) a few miles from Aspen. When I was researching it, it honestly didn’t look that awesome but let me tell you, it’s underrated! It’s not a long trail but there’s a lot to see and do. The Roaring Fork River runs along the trail so there are tons of beautiful river spots to hang out at and foot bridges to cross and cascades that were literally roaring! Tons of wildflowers which are my favorite. The best part by far were the ice caves! You have to climb down in between some sketchy crevices to get to them but it’s so worth it! There are these huge glaciers down there. Highly recommend this hike for anyone in the Aspen area. Check out our pictures below! We have a bunch more adventures planned for while we are here so stay tuned!
Our first high country summer hike this season was to Crater Lakes in James Peak Wilderness! It was exceptionally cool and sunny which made for perfect hiking weather. This was my first real hike where I brought my new camera and it was so much fun taking pictures along the way. Tyler even enjoyed it too! The wildflowers were blooming and there were tons of creeks babbling everywhere from all the snow melt. Truly peaceful. I spotted a few wild columbines and some sweet hydroponic alpine flowers. We crossed over probably 10 foot bridges which are always fun and make me feel like a kid again. We started at the East Portal Trailhead near Rollinsville and it was a 6 mile roundtrip hike with about 1,400 ft elevation gain. The trail was heavily forested but still had great mountain views. We chilled at lower Crater Lake for a while and let Waldo swim/run around. We also climbed some rocks and played on the snow fields. It was really fun sliding down the snow! After a while, I noticed that Waldo’s paw was bleeding and realized that he cut it open somehow so we had to bust out the first aid kit. It was my first backcountry first aid experience and I managed to clean it off and bandage him up pretty nicely! We decided to head back down after that and thankfully he wasn’t limping or in pain. He’s such a tough and sweet boy! He never lets us see him sweat, that’s for sure. We had a great time and plan on backpacking/camping in James Peak Wilderness sometime soon! All the pictures below were taken with my canon rebel camera. None of them are edited due to my lack of expertise in that area.
Over the weekend Tyler and I went to Boulder Falls for the first time ever!! We made the choice not to bring Waldo since we were unsure of the trail conditions and since it’s technically closed. I like to follow the rules (sometimes) but in my opinion, you can’t close nature. C’mon Boulder! The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising to do much else outdoors so we decided to say screw it and adventure anyway!!! I’ve been dying to see Boulder Falls but it has been closed for almost the entire 5 years I’ve lived here. I came to the realization that people safely visit all the time and just go around the closed off rope sign. It was a great day to visit because 1) we were the only ones there so that was really nice and 2) it has been raining recently + snow melt so the falls were raging. The canyon was all foggy and mystical, it was so romantic and relaxing. Pics below 🙂
I had the amazing opportunity to write an article/blog post for enlighzen, an outdoor/zen themed website that features guest bloggers! Definitely go check out their website and Instagram. Here is the link to “Enlightenment via Adventure” https://www.enlighzen.com/enlightenment-via-adventure/
Hope y’all enjoy it! I would appreciate any feedback so feel free to comment below. This is a picture from Isabelle Lake when the wildflowers were in full bloom!
Tyler and I have been loving shredding it up in the mountains this season (2015-2016) so far!! We have been getting really great snow all over Colorado (recently a snow day in Boulder thanks to 17′). We have epic local passes which is unlimited at Araphaoe Basin, Keystone, and Breckenridge with 10 blackout days at Vail and/or Beaver Creek. So far we have made it to 3/5 mountains on our passes!! We have been to Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail. Vail and Breck are our favorites because of the amount of trails and the wonderful fresh powwww! Our goal is to make it to all 5 mountains though so we will hit Beaver Creek soon and Arapahoe Basin later in the season since it’s best known for it’s late season and it’s famous water puddle. We have both progressed a lot as riders since learning to snowboard last season. One thing I do miss about skiing though is the fluidity of it (not strapping/unstrapping bindings every time and having poles for the cat tracks- CRUCIAL). There is certainly no feeling quite like surfing the Earth carving down the side of a mountain in wonderful powder! The back bowls at Vail were INCREDIBLE even though one of Tyler’s bindings broke about 3/4 of the way down China bowl. It’s so fun going deep into the mountains taking multiple lifts and getting really far out to find fresh tracks. Here are some pics of our season thus far!
Tyler and I went to Portland, Oregon the week before Thanksgiving so I thought I would share some pictures and memories. It was our first trip to Oregon, and our first trip to the West Coast together! We met his mother and her husband out there to attend a family wedding! Of course, we got in some adventures too 🙂 It was an abnormally sunny weekend for November in Portland, we were not complaining!! On the last day we did get a taste of the wet fog. I absolutely adore humidity, it makes my skin and everything feel so great, even if it’s a bit chillier. The first day we were there we went to the Columbia River Gorge. Let me tell you, it is stunning and amazing! Everything is so lush and green and mossy, even in November! We first went to the Vista House to get a great view of the river and gorge, it was so windy, my hair was going all over the place lol. Then we hit Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Horsetail Falls. Oregon is a waterfall paradise! I’ve been wanting to go to Multnomah Falls for a long time and I’ve seen so many pictures. Pictures do not do it justice. It is literally breathtaking and SO HUGE. It’s the second tallest waterfall in North America and it flows (strong) year round. It’s a two tiered waterfall and has that iconic bridge that’s so gorgeous. Saturday, our second day there, was the day of the wedding. We got coffee and went around town before the wedding. Oh, we also went to the original “original” Pancake house. So so delicious! The wedding was in a cool area of east Portland and was super fun. Tyler and I clean up pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. On Sunday, our last full day there, we had brunch and went to Mt. Hood!! I was totally not expecting to make it there on this trip but we did and it was awesome!! We first went to Mt. Hood National Forest and walked/wandered around the forest. It was incredibly lush and mossy and vibrant green. Tons of mushrooms and fallen trees. The trees were giant!! We then made it to the Timberline Lodge which is a ski area/at the base of Mt. Hood. There was decent snow coverage but not that much. It was really beautiful and amazing to get to experience the mountains on the West Coast. Mt. Hood has multiple glaciers on top of it and it’s actually a volcano, pretty cool geology. On Sunday evening, we went to Ned Ludd for dinner where we got a taste of local Portland food. The restaurant was super cozy and everything is cooked in a wood fired oven. Highly recommend. Oregon is an awesome place and Portland is a super cool city! So much to do there. It was a great vacation/travel experience.
This weekend we went to a glacier!! Well a semi-permanent ice field but still cool. It was our first time at St. Mary’s. There was barely any snow but enough worth hiking to! Also there were a bunch of little waterfalls and streams from the melting snow. All the foliage was yellow and red, except for the evergreens which never cease to amaze me. I’ve said it a million times but I absolutely loveeee the fall colors in the mountains!! Although fall is a season of dying it makes me really appreciate how alive everything really is and how alive I am. St. Marys glacier was a short but rocky hike to a lake surrounded by peaks (James peak being one of them) then you can hike up to the “glacial field”. It’s near Idaho Springs west of Indian Peaks and James Peaks Wilderness areas. We hiked to the snow field and around the lake. It was so much fun!! I love going to new places. There were sooo many cute dogs, Waldo had so much fun and was so well behaved. His favorite thing is going hiking and seeing other people and sniffing other dogs. To get there we went through Golden and on I-70 but on the way back we went through Central City & Blackhawk and Rollinsville & Nederland for a different route and especially to get our smoky chicken noodles from the barbecue stand. Such a fun weekend with my adventure boys!! We capped the weekend with a trip to Sanitas brewery which has the best chill patio near the train tracks here in Boulder. We both got Bière de Gardes that were so delicious. It’s one of our favorite types of craft beer yet it’s difficult to find so we had to jump on it!! We’re having Tyler’s famous homemade pizza tonight, it’s seriously the best pizza I’ve had hands down and we make everything from scratch!! We love our food processor (seriously the best kitchen appliance ever) and our baking steel. It was a great October weekend! I have been in such a fall mood yet I have not bought one pumpkin flavored item lol. It’s festive and all but it’s seriously getting wayy overkill with all the pumpkin stuff (like seriously every single thing is pumpkin everywhere). We are sooo not ready for the weekend to be over but it’ll be here again before we know it! Now that I’m a full time working adult it feels like the work week is such a grind and everything revolves around the weekend, guess that’s what adult life is like!