We have visitors this week! On Saturday, Alex’s brother and girlfriend came to Denver and on Tuesday, another brother and wife will be joining us for BIRTHDAYCATION. My 26th birthday is on Wednesday, the brothers (twins) 30th birthday is on Thursday – the past 3 years, we’ve celebrated our birthdays together and this year, everyone decided to come to Denver for the week and celebrate their big 3-0!
Yesterday, I ventured into the mountains for the first time this winter. Since I spent most of the winter on crutches, my weekends were in Denver doing crutch-friendly activities. When Alex suggested a hike to St. Mary’s Glacier on Sunday, I could hardly contain my excitement!
Alex suggest St. Mary’s hike because it’s a quick drive from Denver (40 minutes) and a short 3/4 mile hike to the base of the glacier. The hike may be short but for 2 non-Denverites (Alex’s brother and girlfriend) and 1 surgery-recoverer (me) it was still challenging. I may be used to the Denver altitude but an elevation of 10,000+ feet makes it hard for anyone to breathe.
But the challenging hike is worth the reward.
It was a perfect day for hiking – sunny, no clouds, slightly chilly. Really, it could not have been more perfect of a day!
It took maybe 20+ minutes with frequent water breaks to hike to the base of the glacier (seen above). We marveled at the huge mountain and glacier to the left, snapped a few photos before deciding to conquor the glacier, too.
I was the only one who wore running tights – everyone else wore jeans – and I’m so glad I did! While my Reebok tights were thin, they were fairly resistant to the wind and kept my body heat with me. They also turned out to be far superior when it came time to glacade.
See those 4 tiny dots up top? the upper 2 are Alex and Philly (the dog), the next lower two are me and my friend Molly (she’s also Alex’s brother’s girlfriend). It took about 10 minutes to get up that high. The hike was SUPER windy – wind bursts every few minutes that felt like they’d knock me back down the glacier!
I hiked up to meet Alex and Philly. The view was INCREDIBLE.
Once I met Alex at the top, it was time to glacade down! Essentially, glacading means hiking up a glacier and then sliding back down on the snow/ice. We let Philly run down herself and Alex and I settled in and glacaded! It was exhilirating!
This is where my running tights REALLY benefitted: the moisture wicking properties kept my pants dry while sliding down and kept the snow from sticking to my booty. So at the bottom of the glacier when Alex’s jeans were packed with snow and wet, my booty was nice and dry. Winning!
This was the most fun I’ve had in the mountains ALL winter! Alex and I plan to come back in the summer – I’ve been told that cliff jumping into the lake blows glacading out of the water…