My wife and I flew to Denver Colorado, our first trip in a long time without the kids. After a couple of days visiting family and attending beer festivals we packed up our rental car and headed into the mountains to do some Colorado backpacking in June.
We had no specific hiking destination when we left Dallas, so while in Denver we visited outdoor shops and got suggestions from the locals. We settled on the Eagles Nest Wilderness area near Silverthorn. We drove to a trailhead at Cataract Campground, and followed Eaglesmeke trail until it joined up with the Gore Range trail. We hiked past Tipperary and Surprise Lake and followed the Surprise Trail back to Cataract Campground. The trail was only about 10 miles, but had a sizable elevation gain and the trail was littered with fallen trees and swollen creeks which slowed our pace.
We hiked mostly uphill the first day. The weather was fantastic. The unfiltered sun was almost reflecting off the bright spring green of the forest. The mountains still clung to large patches of snow, accentuating their epic ruggedness. Our sprits where high with the beauty of the wilderness, and with the adventure of exploring new territory.
After about 4 miles we reached Tipperary Lake. At this point storm clouds where rolling in and it looked like it was about to rain. Also Kirsten was not feeling great, probably a dose of altitude sickness. We decided to set up camp and get some early rest. In a swarm of pre rain mosquitos I made dinner, which Kirsten could not eat much of.
At 5 pm we climbed into the tent for the night and I read our book out loud until neither of us could keep our eyes open any longer.
We woke up early and Kirsten was feeling much better. There was a light rain so we ate our breakfast under our tarp before heading out. The rest of the day was punctuated by moments of rain and sunshine. We finished the hike, which was another 6 miles, but we had to do lots of scrambling around massive trees that had fallen over the trail.
We drove to Steamboat after we finished the hike and we discovered the amazing Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Talk about a perfect end to the hike. These hot springs came steaming out of the hill into cascades of little pools that had been on different levels. The cold stream ran by for you to jump in if the water got to hot and we spent 3 hours there that afternoon, soaking our tired muscles, people watching and talking.
Justin McCormick grew up in the Yukon Territories in a cabin on Nisutlin Bay. Being surrounded by the majestic and harsh wilderness of the north, he developed a passion for canoeing, hiking, mountain climbing and skiing. He currently resides in Texas and is trying to impart his passion for the outdoors to his four children.