Exhaling I ask Pop, “Have you ever heard of ‘glamping’?” His brow furls and his head cocks to the side, he repeats “Glamping?” in a very confused tone. I laugh, and continue to explain this term to him.. it’s not much of a surprise he thinks it’s a joke… we are settling into our second night of our wilderness adventure. And glamping isn’t really Pop’s way..
The idea started as a two mile proposal of a backpacking trip with Pop– should have known then I was getting into much more. For myself it ended being a test of strength, endurance, and determination. We completed a three pass loop outside of Aspen, in the Maroon Snowmass Wilderness, a total of 22 miles, and I was carrying a 25 pound pack.
Day 1- caught off guard with elevation gains of over 4,000 feet and one ridge conquered we set up camp. The ridge was nameless so we called it Homer. There were marmots screeching out their calls and Coneys scampering about throughout our climb. There was a magnificent view of Willow Lake and some smaller surrounding ponds from the top of the pass. It was like looking down into an enchanted fairy paradise. We hiked down and spent the night at 11,700 feet at Willow Lake. The first day was a test of strength, and was full of picnics. Exhausted we fell asleep to the sound of rain against the tent.
Day 2- we climbed over Willow Pass, which had a quite steep decent into a condensed valley with a creek running through. We found a nice perch above the creek on a soft grassy hill and enjoyed a simple but delicious picnic. The area was calm and we decided to meditate for a bit before hiking on to Buckskin Pass. The winding route down led us to a beautiful wooded area, that was extremely lush. The trail was lined with different mushrooms and weaved roots paved the way to Snowmass lake. It was a gorgeous day of hiking, finished with a magnificent campsite just feet from Snowmass Lake.
Day 3- we woke early to the sun rising against the peaks across the lake, casting a beautiful ray of light across the upper ridges. Being up early we decided to get packed and head back to Aspen for a delicious breakfast. We hiked out along the stream, it was mostly downhill and went by quickly. The path crossed over a still body of water, it was made up of fallen timber from the winter before. Each step was followed by a shift in logs beneath your feet.. but we were determined to make it across and get to our breakfast.
This trip reminded me a lot of the last year of my life. Extreme struggles, and times of wanting to give up- however it is like I told Pop.. if you give up on the climb you don’t get to see all the beauties this world possesses.. so we carried on.. and on we will carry.