I know I say I’m proud of my little girl often, but I’m going to keep saying it. Every year, we look forward to our annual mountain excursion that we’ve shared since she was 2 (with the exception of when she was 3 because that was the summer her little sister was born). Our adventures are normally 2 nights out but she’s been begging for a longer trip ever since my last week-long outing 3 years ago. I told her this was the year and after our hike up West Maroon during our family’s car-camping trip to Gothic last summer to see the wild flowers, I knew what our destination would be.
I contacted Ed, a friend who’s taken his daughters on most of our adventures, and he was eager to join in. Unfortunately, it became apparent that his daughter wasn’t up for the full week so they hiked out from camp 1. It would have been even better to share the week with them, but his decision was the correct one.
There are countless memories I’ll take from this past week – including playing more “Go Fish” than any man should in his lifetime – but there was one instance that will stick out. The climb up from Fravert Basin if you go clockwise is steep. The 1,500 feet in a little over a mile kind of steep. About 2/3 the way up, she had had it and began to break down. I couldn’t blame her, I was tired too (I either underestimated the hike or overestimated my ability to carry a 70-pound pack throughout it.) I told her to stay strong and reassured her that she could do it. Our goal for the day was a small tarn below Trail Rider Pass where we’d set up camp. We got to the tarn and she looked up to the pass and wanted to press on to Snowmass Lake. About 5 miles and ~1,000 vertical feet after she swore she couldn’t take another step, we arrived at camp (After putting down about 15 miles and 5,000 vertical in 2 days.) I told her that night she learned the difference between “tired” and “finished.” She’s an aspiring athlete and she’s learning how to push her limits at an early age – much earlier than I figured it out.
Anyways, the 4-Pass loop is well documented (even on this site.) We saw no less than 30-40 people every day we were on the move, so it’s no big secret. So, I thought I’d let her tell the story (Although I cleaned up the spelling and some grammar).
First Day: 7/19/2015 Sunday (Hike to Camp 1 @ 10,800 beneath West Maroon Pass)
So today I hiked in and we saw a beaver dam, we saw a lake, it was weird because it was raining the whole entire day. We got tired and we took a rest on a rock. We ate lunch and a snack and we climbed up a hill. I took some pictures. We went on a rock path. We saw some snow. We passed a river that was very big and the current was strong. We hiked through some bushes and we got all muddy. We rinsed off. We got all muddy again. We rinsed off again. We went through some more bushes and came to our camp spot. We made a fire, ate dinner, and went to sleep.
Second Day: 7/20/2015 Monday (Rest day. Dad climbed Belleview Mountain)
So today we stayed at camp. [Ed’s daughter] and I were playing in our tent. We ate lunch. We played some more. We went in the tent because it was raining. It rained for 2 hours. We played some more. We wrote in our notebooks. We played a game of “Go Fish”. We played a game of “School” where our notebooks were our school books. We went in our tent again because it rained again,. It was sunny for 45 minutes then we saw a deer. Then we went in our tents and went to sleep.
Third Day: 7/21/2015 Tuesday (Rain Day. Ed and his daughter hiked out)
So today we ate breakfast and then [Ed’s daughter] left. Then we went in our tent because it was raining. We read some of our books. I wrote in my notebook. We played some cards. I made a word search for Dad and he made a maze for me. We went outside because it stopped raining. We ate some lunch. We went back in the tent because it was raining again. I wrote in my notebook while my Dad read some of his book. We took a nap. We went outside again because it stopped raining again. We ate dinner. We went down to the creek. We had dessert. We washed off our dishes. We went in our tent. We read. We went to sleep.
Fourth Day: 7/22/2015 Wednesday (West Maroon and Frigid Air Passes. Camp 2 in Fravert Basin)
So today we woke up at 5:30. We finally packed up. We started hiking. We went through some willows and got all wet. We went over a pass (West Maroon Pass). We took a break. We went down the pass. We hiked up through some flowers. We heard a hawk go “Kaw-Kaw”. We went over the second pass. (Frigid Air Pass). We took a break. We saw some marmots. We went down the pass. We skied down some snow. I almost had a heart attack because a ptarmigan was protecting his nest. We saw some falls. We found a camp site. I read 100 pages of my book. We went to sleep.
Fifth Day: 7/23/2015 Thursday (Trail Rider Pass. Camp 3 at Snowmass Lake)
So today we packed up. We took some pictures. We saw King Falls. We saw some bones. My Dad ran back because I lost one of my water shoes. (Scot: I had an extra flat 2-mile run b/c one of her shoes fell off her pack). We crossed a river. We took a break. We saw lots of flowers. We climbed straight up. It was hard. We took a break. We hiked up a pass (Trail Rider). We saw some limestone and I kept some. We hiked down to the lake (Snowmass Lake). We set up the tent. We went swimming. We ate lunch. We met some people. We talked with some people. We hung the bear bag. We changed into our pajamas. We read our books. We went to sleep.
Sixth Day: 7/24/2015 Friday (Rest Day. Waterfall Hunting and RAIN)
So today we woke up. We had breakfast. We saw 6 deer. We went to see some waterfalls. We came back and played in the lake. We got changed. We ate lunch. We went in our tent because it was raining. I finished my book. We played some cards for 4 hours. We wrote in our notebooks. My Dad made dinner. We ate dinner. We ate dessert. We looked at my pictures and my Dad’s pictures. My Dad started reading my book (The One and Only Ivan – it was funny.) We said our prayers and we went to sleep.
Seventh Day: 7/25/2015 Saturday (Buckskin Pass/Climb Buckskin BM/Hike Out)
So today we woke up. We had breakfast. We packed up. We met some girls. They were nice. We went up a big hill. It was hard. We saw a group of 16. We went through some trees. We saw some waterfalls. We went up the pass (Buckskin Pass). We met some people. We hiked up a mountain (Buckskin Benchmark) with the people. The mountain was my Dad’s first 13er and it was my first 13er. It was cool. We hiked down to the pass. We got to the trailhead. We had Wendy’s. We went to the hot springs in Glenwood Springs. We went to dinner at the Glenwood Brewery. We drove home and I went to sleep.