Blue Lakes Trail + The Breckenridge Troll

Happy Saturday folks! We have some friends visiting from Florida and wanted to give them a taste of the mountain life so we settled on a trip up to Breckenridge. The weather was supposed to be a bit dicey but we wanted to check out some local hikes, so we decided to hope for the best and venture out despite the chance of rain. The first stop we made after arriving from Colorado Springs was the Breckenridge Troll. It’s not hard to find this guy as there are plentiful signs and even some fun footprints guiding you to his home in the woods. This ended up being more of a walk than a hike, but there were some other trails in the area if you feel like staying to explore. You’ll reach the troll in just a couple of minutes, and it is definitely a sight to behold. I couldn’t decide if he was creepy or cute, but either way, it was a really cool concept and I love how well-integrated he was with the forests around him.

Next up, we actually backtracked a bit to head to Blue Lakes Trail. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as crowds for this trailhead, but we were pleasantly surprised to see only a few other cars in the parking lot. You’ll pass one beautiful lake as you continue along the road to the upper trailhead, and from there you can either cut to the right for a steep scramble to the top, or cut left for a winding, gradual path. The upper lake was absolutely stunning – super blue, as the name suggests, and surrounded by jagged mountains. We began wandering around and it wasn’t long before we spotted a herd of mountain goats! I’ve seen mountain goats several times before, but this herd actually had a few kids which was such a cool sight. Some of us decided to head uphill for a better look at the herd (while still making sure to give them plenty of space) and along the way we also saw some marmots and pikas. It was so cool watching the herd scramble around, and we got to hear some of the kids crying to their moms which was incredible. All in all, Blue Lakes Trail was an absolutely stunning hike that I’m so glad we decided to check out.

Silver Dollar Lake

My husband and I have a friend visiting from out of town and wanted to spend a day exploring, so we decided Silver Dollar Lake would be the perfect hike! The trailhead for Silver Dollar Lake is located off Guanella Pass Road near Georgetown, CO. I actually did this hike several years ago on a family vacation, but we weren’t able to do the full hike because a storm rolled in suddenly (check out that video here)! It was really fun to return to this hike as a Colorado resident and take our friend along as well. There were some snowfields that you have to cross along the hike which left us pretty sunburnt and with some bad eyestrain, but overall, the hike was just the right level of difficulty and well worth it for the gorgeous views. After the hike we grabbed lunch at Pho Bay in Georgetown which was the perfect post-hike meal. If you’re looking for a solid day hike that will give you some good exposure to altitude, I would definitely recommend this trail!

Loch Lomond

Happy weekend folks! I’ve been craving some adventure recently and decided today would be the perfect opportunity to venture out a bit further away than usual. After scrolling through All Trails for far too long I settled on Loch Lomond, a moderate 4.6 mile hike located about 2 hours from home. I set out around 6 a.m. with my pup Willie, and we were soon cruising through Denver and into the mountains I’ve been missing like crazy. The trailhead is located near Empire according to All Trails and I recognized the drive from some trips several years back with my family when we tackled a couple 14ers.

After veering off the beaten path for a bit I came to a literal fork in the road with a wooden sign pointing to the right, indicating parking in 0.3 miles. However, the road looked insanely rough – like, mini boulders and giant ruts kind of rough. I sat at the fork for several minutes deciding if it was worth the risk and decided to push on and put all my faith in the mighty Subaru. Thankfully, she carried me through and Willie and I soon embarked on the trail, which is technically just an OHV road.

You begin by crossing through a gate which marks a seasonal road closure, and steadily gain elevation, flanked on the left by some stunning peaks. After a bit you pass through a second gate, and then the going gets pretty snowy. I passed some cross-country skiers who were heading down and felt woefully unprepared in just my hiking boots (I accidentally left my microspikes in the other car). As the snow deepened, Willie became pretty impatient with being on a leash and kept tugging for me to take it off (sorry, but no, little buddy). We got within sight of the lake when I began postholing pretty bad. At one point the snow went up to my hip, and Willie fell in a hole so deep he was practically buried.

I made the executive decision to turn back, and even though we didn’t get to see the lake itself (which is likely still frozen over anyways), the views were absolutely stunning and more than satisfied my craving for a change of scenery.

Paint Mines of Colorado

With the weather finally starting to warm up here in Colorado, my husband and I decided to spend a sunny afternoon exploring the Paint Mines. This geological area is located just 30 minutes outside of Colorado Springs, and it was an awesome place to explore. There are several trails throughout the area that you can take – we stuck with the shortest that went through the main area of rock formations. There are also some great informational signs about how the formations developed and how the site has been enjoyed throughout history. Walking through the area was incredible and it’s a truly beautiful experience. We’d love to come back in the evening and do some stargazing!

Naches Peak Loop Trail – Mt. Rainier National Park

Last weekend we woke up bright and early at 3:30am to drive to Mt. Rainier National Park and explore the Naches Peak Loop Trail.  This trail was actually our Plan B hike because the road to the first hike we planned on was blocked by some fallen trees.  There were only a handful of other hikers when we arrived at the trailhead, but the trail grew more crowded the further into the hike we went.  The trail was beautiful, cutting through wildflower-filled meadows and giving us fantastic views of Mt. Rainier herself!  We got pretty eaten up by mosquitoes but it was a small price to pay for such an awesome hike.

Naches Peak Loop – Washington Trails Association

Barclay Lake Trail

This past Friday I explored the Barclay Lake Trail in Baring, WA.  I arrived early enough, around 8:30am, that there were only a handful of other hikers when I began.  By the time I left around 11am, however, the parking lot was packed and cars were beginning to park along the road leading in.  The weather was rainy and chilly which made the trail very picturesque, and Barclay Lake itself was a beautiful reward for the relatively easy hike!

Barclay Lake – Washington Trails Association

 

Lime Kiln Trail

Checked out this beautiful hike on July 21, 2020 – making it my first hike as a Washington resident!  The trail was very moderate and offered plenty of shade which made it a really easygoing 6.7 miles.  I also tacked on the 0.2 mile-long river loop at the end which was definitely worth it!  The river was a beautiful spot to grab a snack before turning around.  At one point the trail got quite muddy and I managed to step in mud that went up to the knee which was just dandy… Other than that, the hike was very solid!

Lime Kiln Trail – Washington Trails Association

When Your Boyfriend Goes to Basic

When Your Boyfriend Goes to Basic – VIDEO

Hey my peeps!
At the beginning of 2018 my boyfriend, Solomon, shipped off for 3 1/2 months of basic training after joining the Army National Guard.  The experience of being apart and only communicating through letters was incredibly challenging but even more so rewarding, so we decided to film a video telling you all about what it was like!  To be honest, this isn’t really an “advice” video because, honestly, neither of us are qualified to give relationship advice and everyone’s situation is different.  BUT if you are currently (or will soon be) going through a similar experience, hopefully this video makes you feel a little bit better about what it might be like.  Ultimately, we are both so thankful for those few months; they challenged us and pushed us to grow not only as a couple, but also as individuals.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope you take it as an opportunity to explore and grow and thrive, rather than just an obstacle to get through as quickly as you can.  Enjoy the experience as best you can!
I hope you enjoy this video, and if you enjoyed having Solomon on the blog let me know – maybe I’ll let him back on in the future 😉

 

Life Updates – Junior Year + Moving

Hello all!
It’s been a hot minute since I last updated the blog – between school, work, and spending time with friends and family, it’s been a busy spring semester.  Here’s what I’ve been up to and what’s to come:

  • I wrapped up sophomore year and made the decision to transfer colleges – the past year, I’ve been at Young Harris College, a small (I mean, small) liberal arts college in north Georgia.  Although I made some lifelong friends and took some really interesting and challenging courses during my time there, I just didn’t enjoy the campus or the vibe of the school as much as I wanted to.  After lots and lots of prayer and discussions with family, I’ve decided to transfer to the University of North Georgia for my last 2 years of school.  I love the UNG campus and already have some friends there, plus they have lots of opportunities for backpacking and rock-climbing!
  • My parents are preparing to move to Seattle – towards the end of last year, my dad accepted a position with Microsoft and my parents made the decision to move to Seattle.  To be perfectly honest, I was not on board to begin with.  The idea of my family leaving to move across the country was straight up terrifying, and I was convinced I wasn’t ready for it.  After some time to think and pray and prepare, though, I’m so excited for them!  Plus – how cool is it gonna be to visit Washington all the time?  Recently, we’ve all been super busy preparing to sell the house, and they’re gearing up to move hopefully within the next couple weeks.
  • I’m getting ready to live on my own – although I’ve been out of the house for the past year of college, I haven’t really been out of the house, if you know what I mean.  Once my parents move to Washington, I’ll be living in Dahlonega full-time as I’ve been blessed enough to find an apartment near the college that I’ll be moving into at the end of summer.  I am so excited to begin this next chapter of adulthood – and most importantly, I’ll finally have my own kitchen to cook in!
  • My boyfriend joined the military – at the beginning of the year, my boyfriend shipped off for 3 1/2 months of basic training for the Army.  Saying “see you later” to my best friend was one of the hardest experiences I’ve been through, and the transition to communicating solely through weekly letters and minute-long phone calls once a month was incredibly daunting.  Those months ended up being an incredible blessing, though – they challenged us and strengthened our relationship in so many ways, and I am beyond thankful to have him home as of a couple weeks ago.  That time apart not only strengthened us as a couple, but also as individuals, and I’m so grateful to have had those months to push myself and grow in ways I couldn’t have experienced otherwise.

As for the rest of the summer – I’ll be focusing on working a lot to save up for the fall semester and spending time with my parents and friends.  Although I’ll be staying in Georgia for most of the summer, I am planning to fly up to Seattle once my parents have moved to help them settle in.  I’m also hoping to spend some time exploring the southeast and hopefully getting in a few backpacking and rock-climbing trips!
The first few months of 2018 have flown by and, sadly, I don’t think the rest of the year will slow down much.  I can’t wait for what’s to come and I plan to share my adventures as they unfold.
Until next time!