Hike to Nowhere

Hike to Nowhere, Rocky Mountain National ParkSometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off trail with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

We took a hike just such as this. With no goal in mind and no destination planned, the rule of the day was, just hike until it feels right. The trail had no real defining features. A well blended forest of alpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen opening here and there with an occasional glimpse of snow-capped mountain peaks. A gentle rolling creek trickling alongside on our left fed by a high alpine lake in the far distance. Steep slopes rising to the right and dropping to the left, leaving just enough room for the trail and our unknown destination of a hike to nowhere.

We meandered our way up the canyon, stopping here and there, taking a non-aggressive pace and enjoying the quiet of nature.

At some point the trail turned away from the creek and headed uphill. We, on the other hand, did not. Following the creek, off the trail, we made our own way. Our trail to nowhere brought us to a small outcropping overlooking the creek, surrounded by dense woods and the perfect place to call it a day.

Hike to Nowhere, Trail FoodThere we were, all alone, despite the wildlife who possibly hadn’t seen humans for quite some time, if ever. We coexisted well with them and enjoyed each other’s company. For us, time didn’t exist.

While preparing lunch we looked up at a lone aspen tree that sat on the edge of the outcropping and were dumbstruck at our finding. Perfectly carved in its aging trunk, a peace emblem. Indeed, this was the spot we had been looking for. Perfect in so many ways, and yet, perhaps, unimpressive to anyone else.

Sometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off-trail, with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

Hike to Nowhere, Peace SignBirds singing, a gentle breeze winding its way through the trees and the creek running gently below us, we sat front row to a natural symphony while a flood of memories of our lives together danced through our heads.

Our hike to nowhere had indeed taken us to a very special place.

Peace,

MAD

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Adventure of a Lifetime – Hiking the Colorado Trail

Adventure of a Lifetime Hiking the Colorado Trail

Adventure of a Lifetime Hiking the Colorado TrailOur story is certainly not a fairy tale, doubtful such things exist. But, it is our story, our lives together and meaningful in so many ways. As we set out on our adventure of a lifetime, hiking the Colorado Trail, we will go forward together in all that we are. Celebrating our lives together, our children, grandchildren and days to come.

Life is an journey filled with highs, lows and endless mundane activities. When we met in high school back in 1982, Debbie and I had no idea the future that would unfold for both of us. An unwritten book of experiences that would soon bind us together as we grew older together throughout the years. In 2017 we’ll embark on an adventure of a lifetime, hiking the Colorado Trail, thru. On our month long 486 mile trek we will be taking with us the memories, love and devotion we share together. Not to mention the array of incredible backpacking gear that will serve as our lifeline on the trail.

Why are we doing this? Beyond our love for the outdoors and the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we are determined to stay strong and continue to be active as we move beyond our youth and now into mid-life. Never arguing the fact that we are both stubborn and headstrong, we have so much to live for as we celebrate our 35 years together.

Our story is certainly not a fairy tale, doubtful such things exist. But, it is our story, our lives together and meaningful in so many ways. As we set out on our adventure of a lifetime, hiking the Colorado Trail, we will go forward together in all that we are. Celebrating our lives together, our children, grandchildren and days to come.

Is there a theme to our hike? Awareness? You bet! If for nothing more, we’d love for our efforts to bring attention to the often hushed subject of stillbirth. A subject we both know all too well as our first daughter, Shira Rose, was born still. It is in her honor we will hike the Colorado Trail. As much, for the many other children who lived for only a short time. During their fragile and brief lives they experienced emotionally and physically. They dreamed and created memories. They knew love, the love of parents who so desperately wanted to hold them and watch them grow up.

We welcome you to follow along with us as we set out on our adventure of a lifetime to hike the Colorado Trail. We hope our efforts will encourage you somehow to live life to the fullest and find meaning and comfort in a sometimes hectic world. Get out there and take hold of your story!

In the days, weeks and months ahead we will continue to prepare ourselves for the Colorado Trail and share with you our progress, gear reviews, food choices and the like. Once we begin the hike itself we will update our blog and social media sites. We will be sure to take many photos and videos as we share the experience with you.

If you would like to support us, please consider donating to or volunteering at the following:

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep – “NILMDTS trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring the child’s legacy.”

The Colorado Trail Foundation – “We care for The Colorado Trail. The Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF) is the organization that keeps the Trail in good condition. We organize the Volunteers who built The Colorado Trail and who continue to improve and maintain it.”

Peace,

MAD

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Backpacking Eccles Pass

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Eagle's Nest Wilderness, White River National ForestBack at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

What a beautiful late summer outing, backpacking Eccles Pass. Heading up into the Gore Mountain Range near Frisco, Colorado can be some what of an uphill battle, especially with a full backpack. Though, once out of the gulch the trail levels into picturesque meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. Simply put, the hike up is lush and quiet. Aspen groves give way to mixed pine woods with fresh running streams and a much more laid-back environment versus the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arriving in the high valley, you’ll find open meadows thinning out to rugged peaks and big open skies. Wildflowers abound here, while gentle creeks flow from snowmelt high above bring life giving waters to the valley below. There’s room for everyone and everything here, that is, man, nature and wildlife enjoy the pristine unmaintained landscape of the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, just the way it should remain.

We camped just below Eccles Pass, somewhere around 11,500′, out of touch and out of time with nowhere to go, no place to be, relaxing and allowing the natural flow of things to overtake our minds. A room with a view, if you will, positioning our tent to face west at the mountain range, prime for sunset and sunrise and a hopeful moose having dinner among the reeds.

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Marmot Tent, Backpacking TentThe nights were quiet, so much so you could hear a mouse chewing on a pine cone fifty yards away. Shadows danced all around the meadow under an almost full moon. We were alone with only nature as our cohabitant. We would drift in and out of sleep with anticipation of first light and exploring further.

“What was that?”

“A bear”

“What!?”

“A rabid moose”

“What?!!”

“An alligator…”

The next morning we would wander, aimlessly, exploring fields of wildflowers, cool running streams and eventually up to Eccles Pass for the view of a lifetime. From our vantage point the whole landscape disappeared into further untouched lands waiting to be explored. Trails winding in and out and over further mountain passes. If only we had more supplies we could just walk on in any direction letting our imaginations lead the way.

Back at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I know we do! Finding that “spot” where you need to relieve yourself can be tricky at times. You obviously don’t want an audience, hell, we don’t even want a chipmunk watching, nor do you want someone to find your, well, you just don’t want someone finding “it.” Privacy, secrecy and no mosquitoes coming up behind you is what it’s all about.

“How deep should I make the hole?”

“I don’t know, how full of sh*t are you?”

After breaking camp, we fueled up, loaded up and began our decent back to city life. How we would love to just stay and never go back. Backpacking Eccles Pass, much less anyplace in the Colorado High Country, just seems to sit well with us. We always feel at home and as if the weight of the world and all its frustrations just lift off of us. Perhaps one day we’ll just take that one last look behind us as we disappear into the wilderness for good.

Peace,

MAD

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4th of July Fireworks

As the snow melts away and reveals the high tundra, wildflowers come to life and explode in their own spectacle of colors. Reds, blues, yellows, purples and a multitude of colors splash themselves against the backdrop of snow covered peaks making for quite the scenery only found on postcards. 4th of July fireworks are not only found in the city!

It’s that time of year again. The long winter’s nap has all but faded into a distant memory. Trees and grasses are green again and the wildflowers have bloomed in their vast array of colors. Picnics, barbecues and gatherings surround 4th of July fireworks as summertime is now in full swing.

Why would we disturb natural tranquility for mass explosions and such a spectacle of light over the 4th of July? Patriotism, family fun and good old fashioned America no doubt.

If that’s not necessarily your thing, you are in luck. The back country of the Colorado Rocky Mountains offer up their own holiday cheer with just as much color, and far less commotion. Just as the Wilderness Act of 1964 says, “…outstanding opportunities for solitude…”

As the snow melts away and reveals the high tundra, wildflowers come to life and explode in their own spectacle of colors. Reds, blues, yellows, purples and a multitude of colors splash themselves against the backdrop of snow covered peaks making for quite the scenery only found on postcards. The 4th of July fireworks are not only found in the city!

If the noise and busyness are getting to you while so many are gathered together in the city for the 4th of July fireworks, try heading to the mountains for a calmer, more intimate and serene experience this year. There is no lack of wow factor and you just might find yourself relaxing a bit. A sunrise, early morning hike and a nap in the afternoon by a cool running stream might be just what the doctor ordered!

Our top 3 hiking trails near Denver to see wildflowers:

  1. Lake Isabelle & Isabelle Glacier
  2. Arapaho Glacier & South Arapaho Peak
  3. Heart Lake & Rogers Pass

Peace,

MAD

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When the Earth Sleeps

When the earth sleeps, Backpacking, indian peaks wilderness

When the earth sleeps. In between summer and winter there lies the short and delicate season of fall. Time seems to stand still, the air begins to cool and the colors explode once more before their long winter nap.

On this outing we chose a special place of solace for us, a hidden lake high in the Indian Peaks Wilderness that we have named Lake Shira for our eldest daughter born still, Shira Rose. It is a peaceful lake, surrounded and protected by the outside world just below the Continental Divide.

Our trek took us from deep in the woods, across streams and up high into the sub-alpine terrain of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Pelted with rain and snow, we forged on knowing full well that fall can bring all four seasons in a day in the high country.

camping, backpacking, indian peaks wilderness, when the earth sleeps

Once at base camp we set up camp. Following our traditions of naming the various places around the perimeter, we easily found our bedroom and pitched our tent. Next on the agenda, a kitchen, bear canister for fridge, we soon had a place for our meal preparations. And yes, a living room came next, surrounded by mountains peaks, Lake Shira and even a view towards the distant plains where we would see the sun rise in the morning. Everything was set, we had a place to call home for a few days. All that was left to do was relax and explore.

The evenings and mornings were quite crisp and the daytime cool. We awoke each day to the sound of coyotes running through the valley below, marmots and pikas chirping in the early morning light and the occasional stellar jay looking for a handout. Indeed, this was a special place.

Backpacking, indian peaks wilderness, when the earth sleeps

Heading home would come too soon, though the hike back down would be full of the sweet smell of fall and blanketed in color as the aspen trees were putting on quite the show. Streams running full of late snow melt, it was as if the earth was cleansing itself before going to bed for the winter.

When the earth sleeps. In between summer and winter there lies the short and delicate season of fall. Time seems to stand still, the air begins to cool and the colors explode once more before their long winter nap.

Peace,

MAD

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Addicted to Hiking

Find a Hiking Trail

Pawnee Peak, Pawnee Pass, Pawnee Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Continental Divide, MAD Hippies Life, Addicted to Hiking

After years of hiking in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we’ve finally accepted that we are addicted to hiking. There’s just no substitute for being in the high country, apart from modern civilization and left to explore the raw and untamed wild.

Our latest adventure in the backcountry of Colorado took us high into the Indian Peaks Wilderness, past several lakes, across clear running streams and eventually above the timberline where the views were as vast as the eye can see and the mind can imagine. Pawnee Pass and Peak, a mountain pass and peak high on the Continental Divide, would serve us well on this day!

Lake Isabelle, Long Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, MAD Hippies Life, Addicted to Hiking

We were captivated by towering mountain peaks as the landscape slowly changed from serene forests to an otherworldly alpine environment. Glaciers, marmots and jagged peaks were our company as the hustle and bustle of the city was light years away. Indeed, we had removed ourselves from society altogether and were now witness to nature in all of its glory.

Funny how after a long hike, when you are on your last leg, one mile left to go to get back to your vehicle, and you start talking to yourself about finding easier hikes in the future. And yet, after a good shower, meal and some much needed rest, you are already dreaming of the next adventure, further, deeper and higher into the recesses of the mountains.

Pawnee Pass Trail, Lake Isabelle, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Alpine Adventure, MAD Hippies Life, Addicted to Hiking

We are not in this for a speed contest, we are not peak baggers and by and far it is not about boasting. This is simply two love-struck teenagers about to turn fifty seeking to enjoy life one experience at a time. Taking long hikes, backpacking overnight or just a quick day hike is soothing to our soul. Sure, our bodies are put to the test, but that is a good thing. We want to be healthy, keep active and live a fulfilled and invigorating life.

Indeed, after years of hiking in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, we’ve finally accepted that we are addicted to hiking. There’s just no substitute for being in the high country, apart from modern civilization and left to explore the raw and untamed wild.

Peace,

MAD

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Hiking Lost Lake

Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, MAD Hippies Life, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, Lost Lake

Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Wildflowers, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadWelcome to springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!

The winter thaw is upon us, the creeks and rivers are running fast, the lakes are filling back up and the wildflowers are blooming like a fireworks display on the 4th of July. On the menu for today, four moose, three deer, a black bear and an amazing landscape! Hiking Lost Lake in Colorado is an adventure close to Denver full of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls.

Many people are coming out from their long hibernation, along with the bears, and heading up into the mountains to enjoy the cool mountain air, the incredible explosion of colors and trade in their skis and snowboards for hiking boots and backpacks.

Hiking Lost Lake is an old favorite which never lets us down when it comes to an abundance of wildlife, wildflowers and waterfalls. And once again, we were not disappointed as indeed we were witness to several moose, deer, a black bear and an amazing breathtaking landscape full of the life we’ve come to appreciate that springtime in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provides.

Hiking Lost Lake, Middle Boulder Creek, Waterfall, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hessie Trailhead, Lost Lake, MAD HIppies LifeNature’s air conditioner! Many of our hikes are broken into segments, not necessarily to stop and rest, although in the high country that is not such a bad idea! There are those places along the trail that pull you off the beaten path to explore rare opportunities to experience the wild and untamed landscape. When the snow melt begins in spring and the creeks begin filling, the rapids and waterfalls can be quite dramatic. Here, the Middle Boulder Creek bursts with an incredible volume of fast moving water creating a spectacular sight. The heavy mist fills the air and makes for a great spot to cool down. Exploring such a hidden gem is remarkable, while sitting and soaking up the roar is equally meditative.

As much as you might want to stay here, there is so much more to see when hiking Lost Lake. Though, a quick mental note to return again is always a good idea.

Moving on, the trail deepens into the sub alpine world as you climb higher and deeper into the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado. Snow capped peaks begin to emerge behind the tall pines and the trail resembles more of a creek than a footpath as the ever increasing evidence of snow melt overtakes the landscape. The land is alive and your curiosity begins to spark the imagination of what lies around the bend.

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking Lost Lake, Hessie Trailhead, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD HIppies LifeAnd just as the sun rises in the morning giving way to a vast array of colors in the sky, you turn the bend, rise over the ridge and find yourself witness to an incredible landscape that could only be compared to paradise on earth. Beautifully adorned, Lost Lake is a deep blue wonder surrounded by sub alpine trees that reach high into the sky. The cloudless morning sky is endless, rich and clear and the breeze is ever so slight though crisp and cool. All around, snow capped peaks beg to be summited.

A few backcountry campers, still in awe of their find, begin to emerge from their slumber to fill their lungs with the mountain air while the birds serenade us all with songs of the high country. It wasn’t that long ago we were dumbstruck by a waterfall, yet now that begins to fade as this new encounter has stopped us dead in our tracks. Mouths wide open and our souls leaping with joy, we are now witness to an awesome natural wonder. Yes, let’s build our dream cabin right here and never leave!

Indian Peaks Wilderness, Hiking, Backpacking, Hiking Lost Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountains, MAD Hippies Life, Hessie TrailheadAfter we collected our thoughts and got passed the awe of what hiking Lost Lake has to offer, we began exploring around and above. It is really quite amazing, while you can keep close to the shoreline, equally fun is to climb high above and look back down for a new perspective. Soaking up such a view not only gives you and bigger and much grander understanding of the landscape, but offers views that would otherwise never be seen. Alas, our time here was growing short, though not short on experience. We took one last good look around and chose the long way back out to the main trail.

Peace,

MAD

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Lake Isabelle Early Spring Hike

Winter Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

This is indeed why we hike, why we seek the solace of the high country and why we love sharing our experiences that others might be inspired to step out of their comfort zone and see it with their own eyes. Lake Isabelle is just such a place to step outside of everyday life and into the wild unknown.

Lake Isabelle hidden from the outside world lies just to the south of Rocky Mountain National Park in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. And while many do seek an alpine experience here during the summer months, few will make the trek through the deep snow of the winter season which can linger well into June.

Winter Lake Isabelle Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

At just under 11,000′ in elevation, Lake Isabelle sits protected from the hustle and bustle of the modern world, surrounded by three spectacular peaks, Navajo (13,409′), Apache (13,441′) and Shoshoni (12,967′) and fed by the Isabelle Glacier (12,000′) via the St Vrain Creek.

While getting here is not like climbing Mt Everest, the altitude is something to respect if you’re not used to its effects. Patience is the key as you climb steadily along the trail past vast mountain views, clear running streams, lush forests and the ever present Indian Peaks which stand guard over the area.

Our latest outing was nothing less than amazing. The traditional summer trail is not passable in winter and early spring, as it is buried deep under a blanket of winter snow.

One must take precautions by understanding the lay of the land and be quite familiar with route finding and topographical maps. While the use of a GPS device can be helpful, if the batteries ever fail, you’d be on your own. Add to this technical aspect of finding your way there and back, and knowledge of unpredictable weather in the high country is a major plus to a great experience in the Colorado high country.

Lake Isabelle Winter Hike Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

Our route took us away from the summer trail and across Long Lake’s northern shore. Long Lake is itself a beautiful destination, and fed also by the St Vrain Creek as it cascades down the mountain out of Lake Isabelle’s eastern outlet.

Following Long Lake to the this drainage point out of Lake Isabelle was indeed our route. The final ascent up the drainage is demanding, as it is typically a beautiful waterfall in the summer, though in winter resembles more of a narrow ski run, steep and well covered in pristine snow. Once we made the ridge, the peaks around the lake began to appear and our excitement grew.

Getting here can be a challenge in the winter, but the reward is overwhelming. Being in the presence of such a place is breathtaking. Pictures can do no justice, neither can our words, it just simply is an exhilarating alpine experience that has to be seen and explored to understand.

From this vantage point, if your able to turn away from the lake, you can see the entire route from which you came and be able to put it all into perspective.

St Vrain Creek Winter lake Isabelle Indian Peaks Wilderness Colorado

From the Isabelle Glacier, Lake Isabelle, the St Vrain Creek, down through the valley and into Long Lake, this is indeed why we hike, why we seek the solace of the high country and why we love sharing our experiences that others might be inspired to step out of their comfort zone and see it with their own eyes.

Being in the wild untamed wilderness has a way of reminding us of how beautiful the natural world is.

To see more photos of the Indian Peaks Wilderness visit the MAD Hippies Flickr page. We hope to see you on the trail 😀

Peace,

MAD

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Overcoming Personal Challenges

The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

 The Loch Rocky Mountain National ParkHave you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? Our latest adventure had us in just such a place of overcoming personal challenges.

Which way should we go? I don’t know. One is obvious and unfamiliar, the other is obscured but the only way we’ve ever gone. Both are daunting, difficult and quite intimidating.

There we were, only a half mile away from fulfilling a dream of backpacking in a winter setting to The Loch, an amazing gem hidden deep within Rocky Mountain National Park. There was no way we were going to stop now! Only accessible by hiking in, or in our case, snowshoeing. The Loch is a picturesque mountain setting. Complete with a beautiful lake, clear running streams and surrounded on three sides by towering mountains dressed with glaciers and pristine white snow.

It was the first weekend of spring in Colorado and unseasonably warm in the high country, 20s overnight, 50s during the day. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pack in and surround ourselves with the raw and untamed wild of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Backcountry camping can be a bit overwhelming at first, as you are far from services, your vehicle and people. Cut off, you’re on your own.

Camping at The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Not only was it the first weekend of spring, indeed there was something else brewing in the air. It was to be the vernal equinox accompanied by a supermoon and solar eclipse. Say what you will, but the energy in the air just seemed to have an intriguing sensation to it. The area we were in, part of Glacier Gorge, is known for extreme winds, and yet the air was still, calm…deafening. We sat in the pitch black of our campsite awe struck at the innumerable stars, twinkling and shooting across the night sky. The silence was intoxicating.

And yet, we stood in between two avenues. We had come so far and were getting excited that our destination was close at hand. Following a familiar route we came to an abrupt stop on the trail. The summer route we knew well was buried deep in snow, obscured and hidden under the winter snowfall. We had never attempted this in the winter and were not familiar with the winter trail that followed The Loch’s outflow stream that usually is running fiercely through the gorge from snow melt in the summer months.

Snowshoeing The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

Although we saw evidence of other hikers heading that way, we had never taken it and did not exactly know where it led. It could be to The Loch, or it could be to another valley away from our destination putting us even further away. The winter route dubbed Icy Brook is more of a steep icy / snow climb that didn’t sound too inviting to two weary backpackers who were carrying heavy packs and were all too ready to be at their destination. We opted for the summer route instead.

With no visible trace of the trail we relied on our GPS device to lead the way. Granted we were “supposedly” on the trail, we were also knee to hip deep in snow drudging up the side of a mountain. Indeed, a workout! Once we made our way up the steep snowy slope we came to an area we knew well. Just below The Loch now, we resumed our hike in by our own intuition of the lay of the land. Incredible views all around, we left our uncertainty behind us and made the final ascent to The Loch.

Snowshoeing to The Loch Rocky Mountain National Park

We spent some time reacquainting ourselves with our old friend [The Loch], whom we’d only visited in the comfort of summer. A now frozen over lake and deep snow in all directions, finding a suitable campsite might seem difficult. We’d talked about it before even beginning our trek, we wanted a room with a view! After a short while it’s as if the clouds had parted, the birds began to sing and a ray of beautiful golden sunlight came down from the heavens and shown down on an outcropping above the lake that was free of snow and provided 360 degree views of The Loch and all its beauty. We were there.

Snowshoeing Rocky Mountain National Park, Icy Brook

When it was time to leave we begrudgingly packed up our tent, sleeping bags and belongings, stuffing them back in our packs to make our way back to the trailhead and home. But we weren’t done yet. We had spent some time exploring around The Loch during our stay and discovered that the Icy Brook route was indeed the winter trail that would take us back to where we would meet up with what we already were familiar with. It was like looking over a cliff. We met our fears, took it slow and prepared ourselves for the steep descent. Once at the safety of the bottom we just looked at each other and smiled, let’s do it again…but another day! Exhausted, though happy to have made the trek, we were thrilled to have gotten through some learning curves and uncertainty. It was another one for the books that filled us with new found joy of experiencing the wild untamed backcountry of the Rocky Mountains.

To enjoy more photos of this outing and others like it, visit our MAD Hippies Life Rocky Mountain National Park Flickr Album

Peace,

MAD 😀

That Was an Ass-Kicker

Crater Lakes Trail

Crater Lakes TrailFinding a word or short phrase to best describe our outings usually comes naturally as the experience defines itself. But when we both agreed on  “that was an ass-kicker!” we just had to laugh.

Our recent snowshoeing adventure lead us up into the James Peak Wilderness of Colorado to hike up to a series of small lakes called Crater Lakes. Not necessarily a very long hike, at just over six miles round-trip, but more along the lines of a good workout from the elevation gain [1,400′ from 9,200′ to 10,600′], all the while snowshoeing.

In 2014 we made the decision to hike every week come rain, sun or snow. Unfortunately the last several weeks we have been unable to get out for time crunches and unforeseen events.

With the weather being more like spring-like in Colorado, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head up into the mountains this past weekend and were so happy we did.

Mountain Sunrise

We arrived just as the sun was rising on the mountains, which we took as an open invitation to high country adventure.

On the trail we made our way to the trail split that would take us up to the Crater Lakes area. It had been easy going up till this point. But, once on the Crater Lakes trail, all bets were off. After not hiking for several weeks we were feeling it.

Thank G-d for snowshoes, otherwise we would have been post-holing our way hip deep in snow. Hearts pounding, legs burning and our minds trying to tell us to go back home to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, we pushed on.

The term “ass-kicker” quickly became the established theme of the day. It’s amazing, when you don’t workout, hike or snowshoe [what’s the difference] for a few weeks it’s crazy how much you notice it. We took a few breaks, professed our condition to each other and mother nature, then sucked it up and pressed on.

Once we reached Crater Lakes we were exhausted but elated, grinning ear to ear at our ability to overcome and then be witness to such an amazing landscape. It was tough, but it was worth every drop of sweat!

Crater Lakes

Sitting down on a boulder overlooking the frozen and snow covered lakes we just had to laugh as we both looked at each other and said, “that was an ass-kicker!”

Peace 🙂

MAD

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