After saying goodbye to Arkansas I headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 3 years. We spend the weekend touring around yet another underrated city- seriously everyone should go visit Tulsa for a bit. I said goodbye after a whirlwind of a weekend of playing catchup and hit the road for the 9 hour drive to Denver to visit yet another childhood friend. After driving on 70 west for what seemed like an eternity, I began to see shapes that I first thought were part of the clouds but slowly realized were the peaks of the Rocky Mountains casually making their appearance in the backdrop. As I found my way to my friend’s apartment downtown I couldn’t help but drive with my mouth agape at the magnitude of these mountains. Though I have lived in the mountains before, nothing compares to the Rocky’s.
My friend Renee and I decided that the next day we were going to start bright and early to hike the Sky Pond Trail in the Rocky Mountain National Park. When our alarms went off at 4:30am we groggily rolled out of bed, put on a ton of layers, and set out for the two hour drive to the mountains. The sky slowly but surely began to wake up and light was spilling out behind the mountains. When we arrived to the trailhead we were cold and tired, but so excited to take on the day. Along with maybe three other people we set off in the early morning light towards the pond in the sky. As we started up on the four mile hike to the top we passed through mountains and forests, and near lakes. We were making incredible time and before we knew it we were at the base of the rock scramble looking over a beautiful waterfall. We began scrambling up the rocks that seemed to lead to the sky, and were eventually greeted by an overwhelming view of a lake and snowcapped mountains and water so clear that you could see the reflection of the walls that surrounded us. After attempting to take this view in fully, we headed back down the mountain to continue our day. We eventually tacked on 12 miles total, bringing us around to a variety of lakes, valleys overlooking aspen trees, and overlooks with views that resemble something out of a fairytale. Since we started so early in the day we we lucky enough to only have to share the hikes with people towards the end of the day. After 12 miles our bodies were beat and ready to refuel at the cutest little mountain town cafe. My day in Rocky Mountain National Park was not what you would call casual. We pushed our bodies and saw all we could in our day of hiking. Though I know I will be back I am incredibly grateful for my first experience in this insanely beautiful state! Here’s to many more adventures out west!