This past Sunday we took a hike. Literally.
The hike up to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs, CO was one of the first “must-do” activities recommended to us when we arrived. Multiple friends have told us that we needed to hike up to see this amazing, tucked away ecosystem.
Well, between Jason working 6-7 days a week since we arrived and cars parked *on* the highway at the exit every Sunday that we drove by and thought about stopping to take the trek, it took us nearly 2.5 months before we finally made the journey.
And journey it is! The signs in the parking lot, and along the paved path leading to the hiking trail, and at the trailhead ALL state the the trail is DIFFICULT. So I thought, “Well, yeah. We’re climbing a mountain here, folks, it’s not going to be easy.”
No really. They mean business when they say DIFFICULT. I’m talking huge rocks to traverse, loose rocks, loose dirt, switchbacks, and you climb over 1,000 feet in just over 1 mile. And then you get to almost the top where you think you might die (or maybe that’s just me), and then there are several large boulders to climb over with a sheer drop-off cliff next to them with only a thin, metal railing between you and falling approximately 1,000 feet.
And then you get here:
|Hanging Lake in all its glory!|
We made it to the top and all that led to getting to that point was suddenly forgotten. We were in a whole other world. Pristine beauty surrounding us, and it felt like another world! There was even a geocache when we reached the summit. The kids and I sat on the boardwalk and enjoyed taking in our surroundings while enjoying the snack that was promised once we reached the top. Jason continued further upward to the source of the waterfalls feeding Hanging Lake.
|Spouting Rock, just beyond Hanging Lake|
|Yes, this is real. Doesn’t it look like a fabulous painting?! I’m loving Colorado in the Fall!|
Eventually, we had to start hiking back down. Amazingly, even with 3 sets of little feet (we’ll get into why only 3 later…yes, we all survived!!), coming down took only half the time that climbing up did! Maybe it was knowing the trail, maybe it was motivation that we were almost done, or maybe it was just that coming down was a lot more like falling downhill for a mile! 🙂
|View from the paved path at the base of the trail. It’s very deceiving of the actual trail!|
So, why only 3 sets of little feet walking the trail down? Well, first of all, I give MAJOR props to our gang of super-hikers! All four of the people under 4-feet-tall did exceptionally well hiking up the trail. Caroline, Lydia and Ian hiked the whole way and Eliza hiked nearly half, and we carried her when she allowed us to, and when the trail became too rough for her tiny legs.
|Modeling our bandana baby sling with my 27-pound-sack-of-sugar.|
We made the entire round-trip hike, including an extended stop at the top in just over 4.5 hours. Not bad with 4 kids under 8 and a 30-something mama who is a loud wimp when the trail gets tough! Even better, we had no casualties.
|Soles? We don’t need no stinkin’ soles! Umm…actually we do.|
Within a quarter mile of the summit, the soles of Jason’s boots began to rapidly separate from the footbed. We were hoping that he could make it to the top before they gave up the ghost, but no luck.