It’s time for me to tell you a little about my most recent adventure. About two months ago I got an email for airfare specials, and I saw a great deal to fly to Denver, CO. Obed and I have been to Colorado on a few occasions and we have loved every visit. In fact, our honeymoon was skiing in Breckenridge, CO. Needless to say Colorado holds a special place in our hearts.
When I saw the airfare sale, I thought it would be fun to plan a camping trip. But, not any camping trip. I wanted to go REAL camping, in tents, dirty and no showers. Cabins and campers are for pansies! Not really, I just want to sound all tough. Anyways, we did a little research, made a few calls and were able to get backcountry camping permits at Rocky Mountain National Park.
We decided on Bear Lake Loop. I am not sure it’s called that but, that is what I am going to call it because we started and ended at Bear Lake. Some quick and dirty stats on our hike. It was a total of 16-ish miles with our highest elevation being 10,500 ft. We started at less than 9,500 so, our highest was gained 1,000 ft in elevation.
Our first day of hiking was relatively uneventful. We were full of energy and excited to take on the trail and soak in all the nature. However, our first campsite at Spruce Lake was at the end of an unimproved trail, which mean the trail is not as clearly marked. For the most part, we had no problem following the trail then suddenly it stopped. We spent some time trying to determine which way to go and just as we were about to turn back to the ranger’s station at Fern Lake some fellow hikers appeared over some huge boulders. That is when we noticed a few cairns marking the trail over the boulders. We followed the cairns and found our trail on the other side.
Each of us was carrying a pack that weighed almost 30 lbs with water. Most of the trail was consistent going up, down and flat but, there was one part of the trail that I thought was going to break me. The trail right before our second campsite at Mill Creek Basin ran along a ridge. It was our highest, steepest, most rugged and challenging hike. I’m not going to lie, I broke down in tears a few times out of exhaustion. My sweet husband even offered to carry my pack but, I WOULD NOT BE DEFEATED! I reached that top of the summit and I couldn’t have been happier and more relieved.
Backpacking is not for everyone but if you ever think of doing it you should. It’s challenging and scary sometimes, but you get to see landscapes that not many get to see. I felt accomplished, exhausted, excited and in awe all at the same time. But, before you throw on that pack make sure you are prepared and healthy. Take time to read up on what you need, the rules of the park and backcountry, what to expect on your trail (we used this trail map) and what to do in case of an emergency. And, always make sure someone knows where you are going and when your are expected back.
During our trip, I took a series of short videos that I have pasted together into one 7 minutes video of our entire hike. I apologize in advance for singing and laughing like a lunatic. Make sure you watch the vid until the end, there is an exciting story. Enjoy!
If your planning a trip to RMNP please feel free to ask any questions!
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