I started these hikes in 2013 when I was sitting around one day and felt I really needed to get out and do something. It was late August and flipping through an old hiking book I came up with a hike to Pitkin Lake - it nearly wiped me out. There were many times along that trail that I thought about just laying down and letting the bears come to get me.
However, after I was finished and looking over the pictures I felt I found something that was "mine" something I would enjoy, and it was dirt-cheap. The first year was very light, a grand total of two hikes. Very ill prepared and not really knowing what I was doing. Over the course of the winter I did a lot of research and worked on getting back into shape. By the time the next season rolled around, I felt a good place to start was in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP).
The park gets a bad rap because people only think of Bear Lake and the traffic in Estes Park. The traffic in Estes Park is bad, but the bad rap RMNP gets sometimes could not be further from the truth. RMNP truly is a national treasure. I have found that if you spend just a few extra hours on the trail, go a few extra miles, the crowds thin out to nothing and you pretty much have the trail to yourself. It's a beautiful park.
I would encourage anyone that can, go for a good seven to ten-mile hike in RMNP and you'll have completely different perspective on the park; oh, it's also better to buy an annual pass to the Park - that way you can zip through the entry and you don't have to come up with money each time you want to get in the park.
As the years have gone by, I have explored some of Colorado's other national treasures - its national forests and wilderness areas. Usually my goal is to "hike to water" a high alpine lake, right at or just above treeline. There is so much going on at that elevation. There are deer, elk, moose, big horn sheep, mountain goats and marmots, more marmots that you could ever imagine.
There is something spiritual and connecting when you reach a high alpine lake, the air is crisp, clean and yes, thin, but for some reason it's easier to breathe at that altitude. Every trail offers something new and unique, about the only constant I have observed is me constantly saying "Wow! Wow! What a view!"
I hope you enjoy this photo log of my hikes through Colorado's backcountry, and that it may inspire you to put on the hiking boots and hit the trail. It truly is an amazing experience. See you on the trail!