Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer across America and in Colorado, that means hiking, camping and all things mountains! Some of my friends hiked (or tried to hike!) 14ers (Heather, Paula, Heidi), others camped (Courtney, Lauren, Liz). My weekend was slightly less ambitious but it did involve some mountain time!
Our friend (and Alex’s best man), Alex V, recently moved to Albuquerque and drove up for the weekend. It’s very fitting to spend the weekend with Alex V. because he’s an officer in the Army. Coincidentally, we also got to spend last Memorial Day with Alex – a trend, I hope!
This weekend, we wanted to take Alex and a couple of my Alex’s friends (co-worker + co-worker’s visitor) who are newish to Colorado on a hike that would be really cool. Usually, I take my visiting friend’s and family to Boulder – it’s close to Denver and a relatively easy hike. Alex had a different idea – St. Mary’s Glacier.
We hiked (and glacaded!) this trail in March for Birthdaycation so I was pretty excited to see what the trail looked like without snow!
This hike is pretty easy for non-altitude lungs. It is 3/4 mile to the glacier (only 1/2 to the glacier lake) and is sometimes steep but not super challenging.
It was a warm hike (~60*) – no coats needed his time! We brought our pup, Philly, and even she was feeling the heat. She ran straight for the lake to cool off.
The dog had a blast on the glacier – we let her off her leash for a bit and she swam, ran and explored nearby. It’s so refreshing to see our very skittish dog have fun and wag her tail.
We hiked the additional 1/4 mile to and up the glacier and looked back.
(^^ click photo for full screen panoramic)
On Monday, after Alex V. had left for Albuquerque, Alex and I decided to head out to Golden for a short hike. He and Alex V. are meeting next weekend in Alamosa to backpack and camp so my Alex wanted to take his pack and new clothes for a hike to ensure it all ‘works.’
Now, I fully understand and endorse trying your equipment before a big trip – but this hike is the culmination of WEEKS of practice packing, unpacking, repacking and pack weighing. Every night, Alex spends about 30-45 minutes sitting on the floor, tinkering with his bag. It was great to see the pack finally in use after all that practice.
We hiked a trail just outside Golden, Colorado called Mt. Galbraith Park. We hiked 1.3 miles on the Cedar Gulch Trail into the Mt. Galbraith loop. The loop is 1.6 miles around but we decided to only hike part of the way around before turning around. We’d already hiked 40 minutes, the afternoon was getting late and Alex and I were both getting hungry. It took us about 1 hour and 11 minutes to hike 3.15 miles.
This was our turnaround point. After meeting a friend earlier that morning for a self-directed bootcamp at Red Rocks, I my legs were more than tired and I was very happy to turn around.
But while we’re talking about hiking – I found the most awesome hiking pants at REI last weekend! I’ve never hiked more than a few miles but plan to start hiking longer trails, conquering a 14er or two this summer, backpacking and camping.
We stopped at REI this weekend so the Alex’s could shop for more camping/backpacking equipment (surprise!) so I took the opportunity to try a few pairs of hiking pants on. I immediately understood the value in owning a pair of these pants – they’re light-weight, made of ripstop material (won’t tear!) and are really cute!
I loved these Columbia Just Right Modern Pants with a drawstring pant leg.
I also tried on an REI pair that I liked a lot that rolled up instead of drawstrings. I passed on both pants this trip and opted to buy a camping/backpacking/casual jacket instead. I’ve still got a few weeks before I’ll need hiking pants but I can use the jacket now.
Summer is definitely my favorite season in Colorado and I’m so happy to spend my first summer with Alex in Colorado – it’s the first year I can finally take advantage of everything Colorado has to offer and we’ve got big summer plans!