Quarter of a Century
Trailhead: Glacier Gorge, RMNP
Distance: 5.3 miles (easy)
I usually convince Logan to do something more fun than we usually do for my birthdays. This year, I was turning 25, so I wanted it to be something especially epic. But, we were getting all the remnants of a storm and the weather did not work in my favor… Plan A was to hike Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest 14er. But with storms supposed to roll in at 11am, that wasn’t going to be feasible. Plan B was to hike Quandary Peak, a 14er that Logan and I bailed on the previous year. But then a wildfire broke out across the highway and we decided we couldn’t summit before noon (when storms were supposed to roll in) with the smoke. Plan C was to do some random peak bagging in the Idaho Springs area, but the smoke was blowing that direction. We finally realized that if I was going to be able to do anything outside, it needed to be up north, and as early in the morning as possible. So, we settled on Plan D - hiking to Mills Lake, the first hike we ever did in Rocky Mountain National Park.
We don’t usually go into Rocky at this time of year, so we were blown away by the wildflowers blooming! I was stopping every few seconds to get close to them - I think in a previous life I may have been an alpine wildflower, and I will always love them. We got an early start on the trail, though, and that meant that when I stopped to enjoy every flower I saw, I wasn’t stopping and inconveniencing the hordes of people that are usually on Rocky’s trails this time of year.
When we arrived at the lake, we had to wait a bit for another family to clear off the rock I wanted to sit on. We sat on the rock, the same one we relaxed on nearly 3 years ago, and I celebrated a quarter of a century on this planet with my absolute favorite treat: raspberry macaroons. It felt like such a privilege, being able to sit there with Logan and freeze a little (the incoming front was no joke). These pictures don’t do this lake justice - Rocky is my favorite place on earth, and Mills Lake just might be my favorite place within Rocky.