I am not sure what exactly it is about the mountains in the summer that I love, there is to many things to mention.... My obsession with the 14,000 peaks in Colorado always mesmerized me and I have adventured to many of them since I had the pleasure of growing up near the San Juan Mountains. I think I have made it my great mission to summit all of these peaks, and.... Capital peak will be the last one ha!
This summer was our one year wedding anniversary, so my husband and I couldn't spend it in any other place than these very mountains that we said "I do" in a year ago. The plan was initially to do Mount Sneffels which is one of my favorites, but one thing I love about vacation adventures is "no plans"...oh and if plans change who cares!
I have a family cabin located in Stoner, Colorado...yes thats the name of the town! Talk about Colorado high...
I grew up coming to this cabin and spending many nights under the clearly lit stars, listening to the campfire sounds while I shoved melting marshmallows in my mouth and scratched my mosquito bites. My memories were always of the the amazing mountain air, campfire food, long days in nature, and the feeling of peace.
Now as an adult with the hustle and the bustle of life, it even provides me more peace coming to the mountains. A true vacation to me is a treacherous long brutal hike that challenges my mind, my conditioning, my breathing as I am provided with less and less oxygen as I ascend to the top. I have come to respect nature and its beauty, and feel as though I am coming back to where humans truly belong.
The more time we spend on our devices, the less we spend in nature...and human beings have more mental problems in society now days than ever. So in my opinion, a missing element is getting out in nature and becoming one with it. Going into the mountains allows me to do this, they are less traveled trails, tough as fuck, and some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen!
Moreover, our cabin is located so close to the Wilson Peak trailhead (Lizardhead Wilderness), so we decided to complete it in a day and come back down instead of camp at the basin. This is actually always the way I do 14ers, but it looked like many people camped at Navajo basin lake and hit both peaks by doing so. I think next time we hit this trail, we will do the same and not have to be so rushed to beat the afternoon rain showers on these Colorado summer days.
I always have the same essentials for my hikes, PB & J sandwiches, H2O, poncho, bug spray! True story...I have been in need of hiking shoes, my last pair that I had to retire were by Keen and I put thousands of miles on those bad boys. I love the Keen brand, but haven't made my next purchase yet. What kind of hiking shoes do you guys like? OH and also.....I see people on these trails way over packed and prepared, (I guess its good to be prepared), but remember keeping your pack light is a must.
Like any summer Colorado hike, my favorite part is the wild flowers... there is so many variations and at sunrise its just a beautiful thing. Honestly, I cant quite put it into words how gorgeous it is at sunrise when you first get on the trail and the sun peaks over the mountain the glisten over the colorful fields of flowers. My husband is from NYC, so these mountain adventures are still new to him. He loves them and is totally addicted like me, but I don't think he was aware of the trek we were about to go on hahaha.
Now we look back on some of the images that we took from the hike and I tell him this was the honeymoon phase before the rock wash hell...we laugh! lol
The hike was about 8 miles up and 8 miles down so your looking at 16 miles total with a 5000 foot elevation gain and its a class 4 climb. I wouldn't say this is a casual little stroll through the mountains. So if you want to burn some serious calories, explore all the animals, and challenge your mind..... while escaping the rat race of life, I would highly recommend it.
Relaxing on vacation is way overrated anyways!!!
At the beginning there are many open meadows like you see in the above image, we also crossed a small little bridge and could hear the river close almost the entire time. That sounds is so peaceful and the mountain mice were seriously the cutest things I have ever seen.
As we started to ascend more we walked through giant tree forests to get past the tree line.
After we broke through the tree line it was just after we came up to Navajo lake basin...the reflection of the water on the lake and the mountain view was seriously majestic! I wasn't aware but this is where they took the classic Coors image (I always thought it was the rockies) The hike continues around the lake to the other side where we begin the rock wash ..hours of scrambling through the rocks. #Agility
After trekking through the rock wash we came upon some old mining shafts and equipment which was pretty cool. Just looking at it all and thinking about how they got all these things up here all in the name of coal is crazy.
After the rock wash we made it to the ridge line, rock seats are the best!
At this point we were already exhausted and we got lucky since we had a small cloud over us the entire time we climbed the rock wash..it made it so much cooler and bearable. If you do decide to ever go climb mount wilson, camp at the lake so you can hit both peaks and come back to camp. The extra 6 miles trek back down after a brutal climb is challenging.
I also recommend July or August, its perfect season to explore these mountains and the temperatures are perfect. Living in California, my winter gear has dust on it!
I would love to see some of your outdoor adventures this summer, as we share our love for the great outdoors! Here is a quick 360 video, and my beautiful view.