We Hike The Rocky Mountains. (Okay, Not We, But Laura Does.)

Outdoors — September 9, 2015 at 10:35 pm by

by LauraK

LauraK will be bringing you blogs and photos of Outdoors Maryland.  Hike, bike, surf and SUP, babes.  She sets it off with a piece on her recent trip out to Colorado.  Enjoy and get outside!

I’m writing this from 32,000 feet with a bird’s eye view of the world. I’ve become a bit of an adventure seeker, and my goal has been to set out and experience different climates, cultures, and outdoor adventures from the eyes of locals. Oddly enough, in doing this, I’ve discovered many of my favorite hobbies and adventures right here in our own backyard; and in future blogs, I want to show you how to make the most of our own divine surroundings. But we also can’t be afraid to get out of our comfort zone of Maryland to do something adventurous and incredible.

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My latest adventure started out west on a 3-day camping and backpacking trip with a friend who happens to be a born and raised Maryland girl who has become a Colorado resident. After my flight out to the Rockies, Kristen and I set out on a journey from Denver to Boulder in search of a most epic Labor Day weekend campsite- and with an early start on Friday, we did just that. With not a lot of prior camping experience (on my end) we drove down a 4×4 road in Kristen’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, questioning every rocky dirt path we turned onto. The deeper we drove into the mountains, the more narrow the roads became and the more skeptical we were. But we continued to follow our gut and traveled on. A note to anyone reading this, when you think you’ve found the best campsite, keep going. There’s always something better just around the bend.

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Jackpot! We finally found it. We set up our tents, camping chairs, etc. and climbed up the rocks surrounding the grounds to find a miraculous view of the Rockies overlooking Boulder and the Gross Reservoir. Despite being unsure about the road we were on we ended up in the perfect spot. Which proves, on journey’s like this, follow your gut, and 9 times out of 10 things will turn out better than you’ve ever imagined and if the don’t, well, at least you’ve learned a lesson and can chalk it up as an experience. We drove back to Boulder for food and supplies until the rest of our party caught up.

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One of the best ways to escape life is to camp, above the busy cities and lights, and consumed in the mountains and star-filled sky. Enjoy good company and remember why you’re out here. After a night filled with stories, good friends and Jameson by the fire, we packed up to set out on our journey to find Forest Lakes in Indian Peaks. (A quick bit of advice if you ever find yourself in big mountains. Even if you’re going for a day trip, pack a small tent for shelter from storms that quickly arise with altitude changes. Pack a lot of water, Tylenol, layers of clothing and a small burner for a warm, filling lunch – we chose the obvious, chili & Doritios.) We set out on our 8.5 mile hike mid-morning on Saturday and made great time to our destination, the second lake in Indian Peaks, a part of James Wilderness. While on the hike we trekked through Aspen trees starting to change yellow for the fall, pine trees, waterfalls, boulder fields and bridges. The trail was beautiful and taught us how to overcome adversity, consistency and accomplishment. With each step I learned to pace myself, keep hydrated and stay positive in my own mind to reach our final destination – I was going to see that lake!

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When we reached the first lake, it was such a sense of accomplishment and we admired its beauty- yet we still craved a bit more. Instead of setting up camp, we pushed forward to complete our climb of 1600 feet in elevation and reach our final goal, at the top of Forest Lakes. With just around a half a mile left we scaled a boulder field and searched for Marmot’s among the rocks.

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Finally, we made it! Consumed with exhaustion and feeling my heartbeat in my head from the altitude, we took it all in. This beautiful, crystal clear lake was surrounded by mountains with snow patches, green grass and we even saw some mountain goats. Exhausted, we set up camp. Hungry, yet feeling accomplished, we unwound in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. So peaceful and beautiful in fact, that I feel sorry that most people will never get a chance to see this fairytale place in person. I’ve tried to capture its magic through my camera lens in hopes that you will be inspired to set out on your own adventure. The world is a beautiful place with hidden gems everywhere, even in your own backyard. Always seek adventure and push yourself past your limits.

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“Please be a traveler, not a tourist, try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” – AZ

Always live your adventure. More to come from our own backyard!

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