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Addicted to Hiking

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.



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Our Favorite Hikes

In honor of our 30 year anniversary we’d like to show you some of our favorite places to hike to, enjoy! If you want information on any of these pictures drop us a line and we can get you on the trail 🙂 Click on each photo to enlarge…

2010 151

[Shelf above Lake Isabelle, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

2010 038

[Long Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness]

2010 153

[Mt. Audubon 13,223 ft]


[Devil’s Thumb, Indian Peaks Wilderness]


[Royal Arch, Chautauqua Park, Boulder]


[Surprise! Rocky Mountain National Park]


[Hello! Rocky Mountain National Park]


[Guanella Pass]

Well, that’s the short of it. There are so many incredible places to experience here in Colorado posting a few pictures could never do the beauty justice. Our advice, hit the trail! We’re always looking for places to go, so come on along with us here or in person, there’s always room for one more. Hike on, peacefully 🙂

Click here to view more photos and hikes!

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.


[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.


[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.


[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…


[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.


[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!

MAD Hippies Life Indian Pekas Wilderness

Being in the Moment

This is our first entry into a new adventure of blogging about our experiences and adventures in the Colorado high country. We sure hope you’ll enjoy coming along with us. The following is just some thoughts that come to mind when we hit the trail. Certainly you’ve heard the question, “is it the journey or the destination?” and wondered to yourself if you could actually answer it. However, an often missed side of this debate is just stopping to be in the moment. We’re all on a journey, and at different times in our lives we’ll have a destination. But every once in a while it’s good to just stop and be in the moment.


 [Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

 Deb and I often find ourselves coming across places on the trail that stop you dead in your tracks where you stand in awe. Sometimes it’s an incredible view of a mountain, sometimes a surreal forest that is so quiet you can hear your heartbeat, could be a flowing creek or even a majestic lake surrounded by all of the above. There’s an energy to such an environment that we believe to have healing properties, natures vibrations if you will, that penetrate deep within the soul and mind to ease the tensions of life.


 [Trail to Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

I love walking the trail being quiet, just listening to nature and absorbing as much as I can before heading home. For me it’s a recharge of sorts, trying to bring myself back to center before returning to the weekly grind and all it’s challenges. When I first started hiking years ago I was always about getting to the destination, hell I couldn’t get out of the driveway fast enough and on the trail. Since those early years I’ve spent more time allowing for space and time which has afforded me the ability to discover more and how complex nature really is (in a good way).


 [St Vrain Creek in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Let it flow, just breathe, relax…How many times have I heard that? I couldn’t even tell you who I heard it from, if it weren’t my own voice in my head 😉 telling me so. None the less, water along the trail in any form has a supreme calming affect. It’s no wonder people build homes on the edge of water sources just to have as a view. The sound soothes and the image calms.


 [Shelf above Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

This life is indeed an epic journey, from birth to death and all points in between. We hope you’ll take time to relax, take it all in and enjoy the ride. Certainly we’ll all go through ups and downs whether we like it or not, having a cool head on your shoulder just makes it all the easier. Maybe one day I’ll master that…until then I keep plugging along and taking long walks to recharge, rethink and relax. Enjoy, maybe we’ll see you on the trail…


 [Deb and me along the trail in the Indian Peaks Wilderness]

Click here to see more photos of our hikes!