This post was originally titled "Backpacking Philmont, New Mexico" and the title changed to encompass a new location- Colorado. I wanted to explain the backstory really quick because it was what shaped this incredible opportunity. Our crew originally planned to go to New Mexico, but nearing the time we were preparing to go, there were unsafe conditions in the area due to wildfires, which ended up cancelling our trip. We were bummed that we couldn't go to New Mexico, but we quickly came together and developed a new plan to backpack and go on adventures throughout Colorado. I was over the moon about it because I had always wanted to go to Colorado, and as plans began to shuffle into place more and more I literally couldn't quit smiling. This trip was an amazing opportunity on it's own, but meant even more to me considering the backstory. I'm so thankful for my crew and for every memory we made, and I am over the moon that this trip happened exactly the way it did.
Before we go into detail about the trip, I want to talk about the group of amazing people I absorbed the adventures with, because they were honestly what made the trip so groovy. Our crew was made up of 10 people- 3 girls and 4 guys (all of us in high school), and 3 adults. We brought a new name along for our adventure and started calling it Chillmont (instead of Philmont), and we began to encompass the name in everything we did. We made a countless number of jokes, sang a lot of songs, and said a lot of iconic quotes. We played Black Jack and BS, and we thrived during van rides and road trips. We grew close as a crew and became a family of sorts by the time we packed our bags for home. I'm so thankful for all of them, and the impact each one of their souls had on mine. Just thought I'd throw that in before I started. :)
Our first couple days in Colorado consisted of camping at Glacier Basin and doing some day hikes to Emerald Lake and Flat Top Mountain. The views that the day hikes brought were breathtaking, and our nights were filled with starry skies and camp fires.
The next day we said goodbye to Glacier Basin and drove to Eagle's Nest, which was the start to our backpacking portion of the trip. We backpacked for two days, adapting to the higher altitudes as well as connecting more as a crew. Glacier Basin was very pretty and had a lot of cool trails and views. After our two day trip, we stayed at a quirky and cute hotel in Aspen called the Molly Gibson Lodge, where we took showers, ate Chinese food, and enjoyed sleeping in beds instead of tents for the night.
The next day we packed up, grabbed coffee and left the lodge, making our way to our next stop- the Maroon Bells. The Maroon Bells was where the majority of our backpacking took place, and was brimming with beauty, adventure, and good vibes. We spent 3 days there, covering thousands of feet of elevation, three mountain passes, and lots of miles. We played cards as stars filled the sky, made oatmeal as the sun rose, and hiked the day away, filling quiet spaces with songs and soaking up every feeling. The views were groovy, the campsites were gorgeous, and the moments our crew shared were pretty incredible.
Following the Maroon Bells, our crew camped at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a beautiful national park where we continued our adventure. The first day we were there, we went to a local sheep farm, which was a really cool opportunity. We talked to the farmer about his work and the life he lives in Colorado and then got to see the sweet animals at his farm. I love animals (as you probably know by now), so holding those baby lambs and hugging the sheep at his farm was a definite trip highlight for me.
The next couple days we continued to camp at the Gunnison, and we did some other adventuring ranging from horseback riding to whitewater rafting. They were so fun, and really cool ways to take in the stunning views and incredible outdoor opportunities Colorado has to offer. We also did some hiking and took in some of the views the canyon provided. We also got some good chill time at our campsite playing cards and just hanging out together.
After our time at the canyon, we drove to Denver and did some exploring. We went to the Red Rocks Amphitheater and got to look at some of it's history and got to see the venue, which was groovy! We also went to a coffee shop I had been wanting to try for awhile called Corvus Coffee (get an iced oat milk latte if you go- you'll love me for it). Then we walked around and checked out the street and went in some cool antique shops and vintage thrift stores. That evening we went to a scout hostel to spend the night, and we watched movies and enjoyed our last crew dinner of the trip.
The next day was our homeward bound day, which was definitely very bittersweet. We grabbed breakfast together at a little diner called Sunrise Sunset, and then hung out together the rest of the day. The flight home was really cool because we had the opportunity to soak up our last moments of our trip and last moments with each other. We acted absolutely wild coming back through the Atlanta airport, laughing, hugging, and smothered in smiles, and it was sad to say goodbye to our adventure but I knew in my soul that there would be many more to come. :)
PS. There was a good soundtrack to our adventures. From van rides and flights to chill time and camping, good music was constantly flowing through each moment. Check out my Spotify (info is on the home page and contact page) for my Colorado playlist to tune into the our trip vibes.