The 4-Pass Loop Through 8-Year Old Eyes

      17 Comments on The 4-Pass Loop Through 8-Year Old Eyes
After 7 days, we're happy to be home. A trip I'll never forget and hopefully she doesn't either.

After 7 days, we’re happy to be home. A trip I’ll never forget and hopefully she doesn’t either.

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.

The two girls ready for the trail.

The two girls ready for the trail.

The Gang. The Bells should be back there somewhere.

The Gang. The Bells should be back there somewhere.

The stream crossing.

The stream crossing.

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.

Approaching Belleview Mountain with Maroon in the background.

Approaching Belleview Mountain with Maroon in the background.

Cool rock art with Cap-Snow in the background.

Cool rock art with Cap-Snow in the background.

Pano from Belleview's summit.

Pano from Belleview’s summit.

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.

Last Dinner at Camp 1

Last Dinner at Camp 1

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.

Bring on the willows and stream crossing!

Bring on the willows and stream crossing!

Hiking towards West Maroon Pass.

Hiking towards West Maroon Pass.

West Maroon Pass looking towards Treasure Mtn.

West Maroon Pass looking towards Treasure Mtn.

Flowers!

Flowers!

Trail Rider Pass

Frigid Air Pass (Our favorite of the 4)

Pano on Frigid Air Pass

Pano on Frigid Air Pass

Descending to Fravert Basin with Belleview Mtn as a backdrop

Descending to Fravert Basin with Belleview Mtn as a backdrop

Camp #2

Camp #2

Day #4. Bath #1.

Day #4. Bath #1.

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.

Hiking in Fravert Basin

Hiking in Fravert Basin

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Admiring King Falls

Admiring King Falls

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Those blue flowers are as big as her.

Fravert Crossing

Fravert Crossing

More Flowers! All those white dots are columbines.

More Flowers! All those white dots are columbines.

I loved Fravert Basin

I loved Fravert Basin

Once above the steep stuff, we were able to enjoy the day.

Once above the steep stuff, we were able to enjoy the day.

The tarn was our intended Camp #3. She wanted more this day.

The tarn was our intended Camp #3. She wanted more this day.

Trail Rider Pass. Sitting on a bed of limestone.

Trail Rider Pass. Sitting on a bed of limestone.

Looking SW from Trail Rider Pass.

Looking SW from Trail Rider Pass.

Descending to Snowmass Lake.

Descending to Snowmass Lake.

She was in awe of how blue/clear it was.

She was in awe of how blue/clear it was.

I carried that swimsuit all this time and she wouldn't get in beyond her waist...

I carried that swimsuit all this time and she wouldn’t get in beyond her waist…

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.

I forgot that Snowmass Lake is a gorgeous place.

I forgot that Snowmass Lake is a gorgeous place.

Waterfall just below the trail

Waterfall just below the lake

Hello.

Hello.

The aspiring photographer.

The aspiring photographer.

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After 9 hours of solid rain, at least we had a nice sunset.

After 9 hours of solid rain, at least we had a nice sunset.

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.

Approaching Buckskin Pass.

Approaching Buckskin Pass.

This was a nice section of trail (she's upper right)

This was a nice section of trail (she’s upper right)

Pass #4 and almost home.

Pass #4 and almost home.

Buckskin BM Summit Pano.

Buckskin BM Summit Pano.

Her first 13er. This was my 1st as well. My 1st repeat on a 13er and I've done it both time with a full pack. I'm not looking for a third time.

Her first 13er. This was my 1st as well. I’ve done it both times with a full pack. I’m not looking for a third time.

I love this view.

I love this view.

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots.

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots.

Even the walk-ups have some interesting terrain.

Even the walk-ups have some interesting terrain.

It's all downhill from here to the car.

It’s all downhill from here to the car.

Descending into Minnehaha Gulch,.

Descending into Minnehaha Gulch

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Headed for home.

Headed for home.

After 7 days, we're happy to be home. A trip I'll never forget and hopefully she doesn't either.

After 7 days, we’re happy to be home. A trip I’ll never forget and hopefully she doesn’t either.

17 thoughts on “The 4-Pass Loop Through 8-Year Old Eyes

    1. Floyd Post author

      Ed, it was a shame it didn’t work out. I’ll let you know when I start brainstorming on next year though!

  1. Brandon Chalk

    Scot, this is amazing! Congrats to you & your wonderful daughter! Very inspirational for myself and my young daughter. Cheers, bud.

    1. Floyd Post author

      Brandon, thanks for the kind words. I’m sure Lil’ Ms. Chalk will be roaming the hills before she’s riding a bike.

    1. Floyd Post author

      Joni, thanks so much for the comment. I hear that the younger version made some friends at your place while we were gone.

  2. Ben

    This is awesome stuff Scot. And some great writing by your daughter as well! I know it’s been said several times, but just to reiterate, your daddy/daughter reports are really encouraging for me with regards to the whole having kids thing. Anna-Lisa and I still have a few years but we’ll probably take the plunge eventually :).
     
    Nice photos as well (I blew them all up for you). That area is so photogenic. And nice work actually getting all the way to the top of Belleview. When we were there last year we got as far as the false summit and were forced off by a storm. I’d like to get back in there and hit that one someday.

    1. Floyd Post author

      Ben, the kids will come eventually but don’t be so concerned. The younger years are special but they go fast. I think I’m in the “prime-zone” now though. She’s old enough to appreciate and do just about anything but not yet a teenager when I’m sure everything will go downhill for a while.
       
      Belleview was the one mountain I wanted on this trip since it’s a Roach Classic. I originally wanted my daughter to join but I’m glad she stayed back. That section right from the pass is a little loose/ledgy and probably would have turned her off.

  3. summithound

    Super cool; heart-warming report with her words and your spectacular photos. Looks like that rain didn’t dampen yours and your daughter’s spirits in the least! Wishing y’all many more of these experiences.

    1. Floyd Post author

      Steve, thanks for the comment. The rain wasn’t too bad, but the two of us need to learn some more 1-on-1 card games before the next outing. Plus, when it was nice, we had incredible weather. Thanks again.

  4. Michael R.

    Great job you two, on the hike/climb and the writing and photography for the TR! Glad to see everything worked out so well, even if the weather wasn’t 100% cooperative all the time. That relaxing tent time reading and playing games can be very nice too though. A week in the Wilderness, what could be better?

    1. Floyd Post author

      Mike, for her and I things couldn’t have worked out better although I think she’s had her fill of the mountains for a while. She said she’s like to do the long trip again sometime, but defined it as “a couple of years.” Who knows, she may be on one of the Weminuche adventures in the not too distant future.
       
      Another thing, she’s learning what vacation time is and realizes that it’s limited. She thanked me on a couple of occasions for spending a week of it on her and I simply replied, there wasn’t anywhere I’d rather be (except on the off-chance Jamie and/or lil’ sis want to join in sometime.)

  5. DKYarian (Zambo)

    Yesss! These are always my favorite TR’s. What an awesome, awesome way to get out there together. You guys are my heroes. 7 days out is a long time, but what a trip. Thanks for sharing and for both of your writings.
     
    PS: What a valuable lesson this is to learn early, painful as it may be, “she learned the difference between “tired” and “finished.””

    1. Floyd Post author

      Thanks Zambo. We had a great time and hopefully she learns how to apply some of these lessons. By the way, ETR is still awaiting the footless onesie picture.

  6. BC

    Awesome! What cool memories… I was just wondering if my 8 year old daughter (9 by summer) would like hiking for this long. Love the pictures and it’s great to read (hear) about the adventure in her words. It’s not about getting there – it about the journey!

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