The world is full of amazing adventures; all we have to do is seize the opportunity to experience them.
On August 29th, 2021 seven friends and three dogs set out from Denver, Colorado to overnight backpack in the Rocky Mountains. I was one of them. We left on Sunday morning, 3 cars in a line-up driving down the winding canyon drive for just short of an hour, the city of Boulder in our rearview mirrors. Funny, I remember walking down this very same canyon drive back in 2018, but this was before I had decided to move to Colorado.
I have a love hate relationship with the outdoors. I am the kind of guy that prefers to hang out at a nice cocktail bar with friends or find some concert to hit up for the weekend. The outdoors seems to come into my life when I am invited to join. Perhaps this is the call of the wild; more likely it’s my friend Geoff telling me that we are going to go to X and it’s going to be a lot of fun because of Y.
His adventures never disappoint. The man really knows his way around Colorado. To speak simply, every time I get dragged out to go explore and adventure outside, I am immensely happy. There is something about going out to nature that feels so, well, natural.
We decided to go on the Devils Thumb Pass and King Lake Trail just outside of Nederland, Colorado. The loop was 16 miles. We made it 5 miles the first night and set up camp at the first lake. We sat around the campfire late into the night with a bottle of bourbon we passed around while we enjoyed in laughter as well as each others company. Also something to note: those dehydrated meals that REI sells, not that bad! (I recommend trying one at home sometime.)
The next morning was the start of one of the longer days of my life. Like a bunch of pros or a group of rebels we got lost which made our 16 mile hike into a 17.1 mile hike. 12.1 miles on a Monday with a 45 lbs backpack each. This alone is for sure all the proof we need to finally confirm that Mondays are indeed the hardest day of the week.
If you’ve never done backpack hiking before let me tell you, those backpacks get heavy, like really heavy. The first thing that gets sore is your back. Next to follow is your calves, and finally you each step feels like the last step you’ll ever take.
Regardless our group didn’t complain, we just kept moving and enjoying each others company as well as the amazing views that Colorado had to offer. By the end, we all made it back to our cars, tired, exhausted, and ready for our own beds at home. I learned a few vital lessons on the trail:
- Everyone should have the map and know exactly the route to take.
- Snacks are your friend! Carbohydrates are your best friend!
- Struggle alone is hard. Struggling with friends is less hard. Do the later.
- We truly live in a beautiful world, and it is our jobs to be stewards of this earth.
“Life before Death.– Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
Strength before Weakness.
Journey before Destination.”
Taking care of the planet becomes easier to more I explore and enjoy the planet.
My experience has taught me that people only do things that provide value for them. I am no different. It’s one thing to tell someone to reduce their carbon foot print; it’s another to bring them to an oasis or a breath-taking mountain. One is telling them what to do while the the other is showing them something special that is worth being taken care of.
So, it is my strong encouragement that you go out and enjoy a hike (or invite a friend out to a hike)! You can find amazing hikes in and around your area using AllTrails. It’s completely free, and a great tool for getting started.
Being socially responsible starts first with enjoying the world around you and seeing the value it has to offer, only then would I recommend investing back into our world or learning more about forest stewardship.
Until next time, happy camping!