Hiking + Camping on Maroon Bells with Girlfriends | Aspen, Colorado
My friend, Melissa, is my go-to adventure partner. I've traveled so many places with this woman and they've been some of the best of my life. I adore her. So, when she calls and says in the most casual tone, "hey, would you want to go on a hike and then maybe camp a night with me and my sister and Danielle in a month?" naturally, I say yes. Fast forward one month, she was talking about a 14er people! I knew her sister lived in Aspen but I think I was anticipating your every day, Camelback Mountain or the Incline hike. When she said Maroon Bells, I didn't even know what that was. But this is the best part of trusting your travel mate and agreeing to whatever she's put together. I hadn't ever hiked a 14er, I can't say I was in prime shape also, I didn't realize I'd be carrying a pack with a bladder of wine inside that weighed as much as my torso.
So here I am, at the base of the Maroon Bells and if you've been you know the lake at the base and trails on the right its seemingly approachable. A few hours in when it's pouring rain on you and you're all but falling while taking photos (anything for the shot) and you're nowhere near the 1/2 way point it feels like the worst. But then you're at the halfway point and feel like you might actually die and then that's the worst. That said there isn't actually anything awful about it. I love challenging my body and doing the things that feel bigger than what I anticipated I could or would ever do. Accomplishing them and feeling all of the pains in the morning is my favorite reward. The hurt-so-goods of life that keep me going back for the next hike, the harder workout, the yes' without hesitation.
I adore good girlfriends and quality conversation and beautiful views and places that you can only get to by doing the hard work that so many never will even try to accomplish. 14ers are addicting and I desperately need to start tackling them. I broke my foot shortly after this hike and then found out that I was pregnant and life has been so busy since. #excuses Living in Colorado makes it easy to reach these mountains, however, being intentional with my time is taking some work.
The views, friends, the views! Wine and dehydrated food have never tasted so good. We started with the sun and we took the shuttle to the drop off area. We hustled to try and beat the afternoon lightning storm to the peak and our descent was stunning, freezing and full of all of the heart to hearts. We set up camp, hid our food + chapstick in a tree from the bears, soaked in the views and enjoyed all of the laughter. If you haven't camped after your hike through the Bells, do it... the two-day trip is best.