Colorado is seriously a terrible place to live.
How do people do it?
I mean, it’s hideous. There’s mountains and sunsets over mountains and sunrises over mountains. I guess it’s alright if you’re into that kind of thing.
Here I am, on the side of a mountain in a blizzard, 8,802ft up in the air. I’m cold as f*ck in my one too few bottom layers, the wind is whipping 45mph across the bluffs and I can’t find the god damn lake I’m looking for because it’s a white out and I’m also a terrible navigator. I’m standing on a ledge, on the side of a mountain, 8,802ft up.
And it is WONDERFUL.
I haven’t gotten out to hike and explore as much as I wanted to last summer when I first moved here, so I figured on a 55 degree day in Denver, what better to do than head up to Estes Park for a little day trip? The weather must be nice.
WRONG. What I forget about Colorado a lot is how different the weather can be one mile to the next. And the weather is not the same in the mountains as it is in the city. 55 degrees and clear blue skies in Denver… 29 degrees, frigid wind, blizzard in Rocky Mountain National Park. Even though we didn’t expect this kind of snow, we trudged on and got two good hikes in. Thankfully, we both had enough gear to stay pretty warm and we stayed on trails that were mostly sheltered by trees. Mostly.
While the conditions didn’t leave much for scenic viewing, it did give us some nice windburned cheeks and froze our hair right to our foreheads. Only once did we think one of us would go tumbling down the side of the mountain, I think that qualifies as a win. I can’t even tell you how happy my butt was to find a heated seat in the car afterwards. While we defrosted, we cheers’d to our Galentine’s Day adventure with skittles and sour gummy worms and wished we had brought some beers for liquid warmth.
As we made our final descent down the mountain, our sunglasses we hindering our sight in low light so we packed them away (after almost losing them in a snowbank). As we had on the way up, we gave a friendly greeting every person we saw along the way – blame the midwest nice in us, I guess. Most people looked at us kind of weird this time and we weren’t sure why… until we got to the car and noticed the mascara literally raccooning our eyes. Whoops. Sorry for the nightmares, strangers.
Across the whole day, we covered probably 5 miles in the snow across two trails. We trekked to Dream Lake and got about 3/4 of the way up Bierstadt Trail before turning around due to weather conditions. Next time, we plan on taking Dream Lake further to Emerald Lake and tackling more of the trails in the park. We also decided we will check the weather a little more closely before heading up.