Let it Snow!!!

MAD Hippies Life Blue Lake Indian Peaks Wilderness ColoradoOur excitement has been mounting lately as the weather in Colorado is beginning its seasonal change from long warm days to short, cold and snowy events. Not to worry, we’re ready for the snow and can’t wait to dust off the snowshoes.

After a quick moving storm dumped several inches of snow in the high country this past week we headed up the first chance we got to check out the conditions and see nature in its raw form. Blue Lake is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness at just over 11,000′ and offers spectacular mountain views. Unfortunately those views were put on hold for clouds, fog and snow squalls moving in unannounced…all the better!

This was just the sort of hike we needed to get our snow legs back on for the fast approaching winter hiking season. Indeed,  an amazing day full of all types of weather and trail conditions.

See more photos of our experiences

Peace,

MAD 🙂

Dreams Do Happen

On yet another wonderful adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park, we were greeted with amazing early spring weather in the Colorado high country. We went into this overnight trek not fully aware of what surprises lay in store for us. While the calm Springlike weather was indeed a treat, other hidden gems began to unfold around each corner we ventured to explore. The most prominent and decisive feature that would define our experience wasn’t even realized until we returned home and, what to our surprise lay hidden within the memory card on our camera was indeed what would, and has become the theme of this latest experience…Dreams Do Happen.

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[Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park]

We’ve said it many time before, those moments in life that leap off the page and define who we are can’t be made, they just happen. In the flash of an eye without realizing it, the circumstances appear for a moment and then they are gone. Question is, did we pay attention, did we see it and did we grasp it with all of our being and hold on for dear life? We often dream of what we want life to be never really understanding that it’s constantly unfolding all around us, every day waiting for us to accept it and move on. We’re not waiting for the train to come into the station, life is happening now, constantly, what are we doing with it and how are we responding?  The picture above is a great example of the little things all around us, here for a mere moment, and when the ice melts, its gone. A sign along the trail calling to us to take notice of our surroundings. We almost fell off the couch when we noticed this picture…a heart shape appearing on the water for a moment in time at Dream Lake.

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[Moonscape Above Our Tent]

The stage was set, the evening before our hike was spent in utter relaxation around a campfire, deer meandering through, fire crackling at our feet and a cool Spring moonscape rising in the sky to let us know another day had ended and an incredible one will begin soon. An evening of dreams and elk bedding down all around us, we awoke in the morning mesmerized by the natural beauty of not only our base camp, but the incredibly calm mountain weather that was calling us to rise quickly, hit the trail and be the first [and perhaps only] people to witness manifesting dreams of what already is.

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[Dream Lake 10,000′]

Funny how you can go through life wanting something that has been right under your nose the entire time. Pardon our boasting, but we have been married now for 30 plus years, meeting in high school we never looked back. Jumping into life head first, we became parents at an early age [three beautiful daughters] and went through all the motions life seems to have for all of us to get from one stage of life to the next. Years later here we are, just us as it was in the beginning wondering how we were supposed to redefine our lives on the backside of parenthood. The answer was simple, we’re still the same young lovestruck teenagers we were when we met, no redefining needed! We’ve been talking about this quite a lot lately, curious as always about life and what it all means. And yet here we are, contemplating at the edge of Dream Lake about to realize dreams do happen and we’re still living it…

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[Nymph Lake along the trail to Dream Lake]

Sure, we’ve endured our share of problems, issues and all things in between, just like anyone else endures their own set of life’s dramatic ordeals. We were busy living life I guess you’d say. The clouds would gather together overhead and declare the change of season while we pulled up our pants and weathered the storm. Each challenge a moment of extreme character building to etch out who we would become after each lesson of life passed. Sometimes we failed, other times we passed the test no problem. Don’t we all? And today we are alive, staring into each others eyes amazed at the ride we’ve taken together through life. That’s something to celebrate. And if trouble comes tomorrow, we’ll deal with it.

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[Dream Lake’s Dreamy Woods]

What’s on the other side…who cares. Life, energy, rebirth into the hereafter. One thing’s for sure, we’ll all find out one day! For now live in the moment, in each other’s arms, hand in hand, cheek to cheek, running naked and laughing at each other for the incredible gift we’ve all been given to live our dreams, to have dreams, to be a dream…to be at all. Dreams do happen, and indeed are happening! If that weren’t enough, this blog is being closed out while a seemingly appropriate song drifts in the background just as the heart shape appeared on Dream Lake, might we share the lyrics and perhaps prick your imagination to dream a little…

“Still, You Turn Me On” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer [1973, Brain salad Surgery]

Do you want to be an angel,
Do you wanna be an angel
Do you wanna be a star
Do you wanna play some magic
On my guitar
Do you wanna be a poet
Do you wanna be my string
You could be anything

Do you wanna be the lover of another undercover
You could even be the
Man on the moon

Do you wanna be the player
Do you wanna be the string
Let me tell you something
It just don’t mean a thing

You see it really doesn’t matter
When you’re buried in disguise
By the dark glass on your eyes
Though your flesh has crystallised
Still…you turn me on

Do you wanna be the pillow
Where I lay my head
Do you wanna be the feathers
Lying on my bed
Do you wanna be the cover
Of a magazine
Create a scene

Every day a little sadder
A little madder
Someone get me a ladder

Do you wanna be the singer
Do you wanna be the song
Let me tell you something
You just couldn’t be more wrong

You see I really have to tell you
That it all gets so intense
From my experience
It just doesn’t seem to make sense
Still…you turn me on

Click here to view more photos of this hike!

Perseverance is the Key

Our latest hike is one we have wanted to take for some time, And while it is an area we have hiked several times before, we had never been there in the often avoided deep cold of winter. Add to the difficulties of winter hiking in the high country, we have personal reasons for our trek as the area we were heading for is dedicated to the memory of a dearly departed family member whose love for life was, and continues to be, an inspiration to us. As such, perseverance was the key to successfully reaching our destination. Our goal, Long Lake (10,600 feet) just below the Continental Divide deep within the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Sunny and blue conditions invited us to trek on and push through deep snow to reach our goal. Our trusty snowshoes and a positive attitude and off we went in search of not only an incredibly magical destination, but as much, another spiritually fulfilling adventure.

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[Approaching the Long Lake trail head in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Bucket lists, desires, goals, needs…we’ve all got them. This hike falls in between pretty much all of those. We’ve tried before only to get turned back by weather. A winter hike in the high country can be difficult in and of itself, add harsh winter conditions and you have to ask yourself if the safety risk is worth the effort. Several weeks ago we tried this very same hike, at the trail head we were met with severe winds, blowing snow and a temperature of 6 degrees making for near whiteout conditions. Halfway into the hike we turned around and headed home. There’s no doubt it was still a good hike, but safety was the key to our being able to return another day. As I’ve stated before, I used to be hell bent to reach the destination no matter the end result. Nowadays I appreciate what I can do in hopes of fulfilling my goals at any given time, responsibly and respectfully for not only myself, but all those involved.

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[A stop sign near the trail, shows the amount of snow in the area]

Perseverance was certainly a key factor to this hike. Hiking in deep snow, even though well equipped with winter gear, is no easy task. Physically demanding, and perhaps even mentally demanding, we pushed on weighing the balance of safety and our own desires. Our hike was 7.5 miles round-trip, which equals about 10 miles in dry snow free conditions in energy output. Given our winter gear and good weather conditions it was really a matter of can we physically do this. Our love for the outdoors and the area we were hiking in was certainly a great selling point, but even more so was the desire to go to a place that has a much deeper impact on us than just a hike. As was said before, the memory of a departed family member and how great an impact they had on our lives was more moving than the most beautiful hike we could ever venture on. Just knowing their spiritual presence was in the air made the day all the more magical. Indeed, with this in mind, the most daunting of tasks in life can bring out strength we never knew we had. In the end, our hike was not only successful, but every bit fulfilling in body, mind and spirit.

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[Long Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

There’s no way a picture can convey the actual experience. Indeed, in this case that notion holds true. Long Lake in the backcountry of the Indian Peaks Wilderness is a special place. The energy one feels here is otherworldly and so calming it is hard to leave at the end of the day. An infectious and captivating peace comes over you as you enter into this area. Perhaps the obvious beauty, perhaps the elements of nature themselves or perhaps even the spirits of the Native Americans whom protected these lands in years past and the peaks who are aptly named for them, this area draws deep into the individual who is blessed to have experienced it. It is here one can spend ours exploring, meditating or just absorbing the soul-cleansing nature of paradise on earth. Long Lake is not only a destination, but a gateway to further expansive adventures into its beginnings. High above in the backdrop the snow deepens and slowly melts all year feeding the streams that flow into Long Lake as if the veins of the of the spiritual world breathe life into the earth. Yes, there’s more here than meets they eye…

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[St Vrain Creek outflow from Long Lake]

A deep blanket of untouched powder adorns the Long Lake area all winter. Perhaps a bit of OCD, but I love leaving snow untouched, allowing its natural beauty and cleansing effects to be left to the eye and not the foot who tramples its serenity. Places such as this bring peace to a weary soul and the traveler who finds it, to this I would add, the traveler in this life and the next. It’s no wonder Debbie and I frequent this area every chance we get. Being able to come here in the winter has been a long time dream of ours that is no doubt to us been worth the effort. Indeed we will be returning, not only in winter, but all seasons. And not only for ourselves, but to engage the memory and energy of our loved ones who not only live on, but walk with us daily.

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[Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Our hike is dedicated to our beloved Rosemary Rogers Olsen whose infectious love for life, people and nature continues to be an inspiration

Click here for more photos of this hike!