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Worth The Hike: Maroon Bells and Crater Lake in Aspen

Happy weekend! Have you fully recovered from the 4th of July festivities? After 2 swim and BBQ parties and a night out in the country shooting fireworks I was pretty tired the last couple of days! And, it has been sooooo hot here! But hey, its summertime fun in Texas!

Today I would like to share a “cool weather” trip with you in case you are looking for a little Colorado adventure!

Before the kids got out of school I went on a trip to Aspen with 7 of my mom friends. A few I knew well, a few I knew a little, and 1 I just met on the trip! But by the time we returned home we had bonded! It was a fabulous, fun-filled getaway!

Being mid May we were there during what is known as “mud season”. The name doesn’t sound appealing. The mud season. Sounds dirty and dreary. Not like your dream vacation. But don’t let the name fool you.

The mud season is Colorado’s off season — the window of time between when the ski resorts close and when the summer activities pick up again. The weather warms up and melts the snow, before the wildflowers and grass have filled out Mother Nature’s carpet. Hence, mud.

When we arrived in Aspen we were actually treated to some late season snow! This Texas girl was thrilled! After all, summer was already knocking on the door here in Houston in mid May and I, and the other ladies, welcomed the opportunity to be in one more blast of cold weather before being smothered in 3 – 4 months of extreme heat!

In any case, let me get back on topic…

On our next to last day we decided to drive to Maroon Bells (just a quick 25 minute drive from town) and hike to Crater Lake. Only our hostess with the mostest knew what we were in for, but we were all game!

The Maroon Bells, surrounded by pristine National Forest lands, are the most photographed peaks in all of North America. Here you can explore the glacial valley while surrounded by 14,000 – foot peaks. Maroon Lake, surrounded by fields of wildflowers, mirrors images of the Maroon Bells in it’s waters.

Photo via Colorado.com

When we arrived to Maroon Lake we fueled up on some sandwiches, took a few pictures, and then we were on our way! A 2 hour hike to Crater Lake on the Crater Lake Trail. This 3.6-mile round-trip trail rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas of bushy Aspen woodlands and Crater Lake. Start at the Deadly Bells Kiosk from Maroon Lake Trail and be prepared for a steep and rocky ascent. The first 1/2 of our hike was on rocky trails through the Aspen trees, the second half of our hike was mostly snowy hills and valleys.

Snow Angels along the way!

About an hour in a couple of the ladies thought they would turn back before arriving to our final destination. This was a bit of a taxing hike after all. Plus, we weren’t all acclimated to the higher altitudes and breathing was a little difficult at times. But with a little encouragement we all pushed through and after 2 hours we arrived to our final destination – Crater Lake! It was breathtaking! And, we all made it together!

Before heading back, we sat down for a while and just took in the beauty of our surroundings. It was quiet… Peaceful… Uplifting…

Back at the house at the end of the day we enjoyed some well deserved wine and a yummy pasta dinner! Us mammas were HUNGRY and feeling accomplished!

It was a great day and I would definitely recommend this Colorado adventure that is “worth the hike”!

For more info on The Maroon Bells check out the Colorado.com website here.

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