St. Mary's Glacier
Fall leaf peeping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is something special.
I am fortunate to have grown up here, a rare Colorado native, and have probably seen some pretty spectacular changing of the seasons over the years. You don’t realize when you are growing up that what you are doing is actually a real activity that people plan and set out to do every fall, some even traveling and visiting here to get the best show, you just simply are surrounded by it. I don’t remember my family changing schedules and organizing anything in particular for fall leaf peeping in the mountains, but I am sure we went up to the high country during peak color. We had property in Fairplay growing up and camped there often, so I am sure there must have been autumnal agendas and trips up there during this time. My memory fails me. As my girls’ memories may fade with time as well, but that didn’t stop us from pulling the eldest out of Kindie for a day and playing hookie on a Tuesday to try to catch the color.
It’s hard to gauge and there is no magical calculation on where is the best place to see the best colors of the season and when. I guess the drought has affected the color and the peak of when they turn and shortened the timeframe of how long they stay on the trees. SO hard to know when and where to go to see good foliage, but for us, we wanted to stay just within a 45 minute or so drive from home. I had heard of St. Mary’s Glacier before when researching hikes, but didn’t consider it for fall leaf peeping until I ran across it in a post somewhere a couple weeks ago. The drive UP to the hike area holds all the color cards. Funny, I am a native, but I don’t EVER remember going up this way before. So much to explore right under our noses. The leaves were JUST starting to yellow when we went up last week. There were a handful of incredible orange show boats too! I would LOVE to be able to drive up once more to see what we can see.
CLEARLY, we were NOT your experienced or prepared hikers out there on the trails! I did have enough sense, thank goodness, to layer us all up. Good thing- it was quite windy and chilly once we got to the lake. I also had some smarts to pack snacks and even a sandwich for the girls which they happily ate up after we reached the end of our hike before heading back down. I was NOT ready for ALL those rocks along the hike! I had seriously thought about wearing my hiking shoes, and I actually decided against them in the end. I wore a pair of clogs up there, and THANKFULLY had packed a pair of flat boots. I had these old things for a very long time and ended up trashing them afterwards because they got destroyed on these rocks going up. They were very comfortable actually and I never slipped, just the fabric along the tiny wedge was tearing off from the jagged terrain. Oh well, those boots had a good life!
The girls however were the most prepared and had the perfect little boots. They were warm all the way up and down, and I had coats and hats for them. What made them cold mostly was the fact that while I was setting up the tripod for a family pic they had got their feet wet AND their tiny hands in that frigid lake! By the time they finished their sandwiches and we started back down they were warm again and peeling off their coats. That’s the thing with hiking- always LAYER!
Husband played pack mule for us and carried a bag with water and necessities. Sometimes I feel like the spontaneity adds to the adventure of it all! Now that I am recapping this little trek up in the hills I am realizing I had a first aid kit in my trunk, but failed to toss it in the bag we carried up. I honestly had no idea what we were in for when we started on the hike! It was about a mile for those considering it. My girls had no problem climbing the elevation all on their own, no carriers or packs, just their little legs doing all the climbing, We took breaks and sat on rocks, they walked along fallen trees and we sipped water as needed, but they were honestly running up ahead of us most of the time! We had to tell them to stop, and wait for us a good portion of the hike. We are blessed we have two extremely active girls who love to be OUTSIDE! I guess both their parents do too, but I really hope we can be better about making mountain trips more regular as they grow.
Happy October everyone!
Wearing: I am wearing faux leather leggings, I believe they were from a local boutique, not the best quality or warm at all, but wanting a new pair like these from Spanx, nicer quality for sure! My sweater was a HUGE sale item, like $12 I think, from Anthropologie over summer. My knit cap is old, and sure glad I had it- BRrrrr…. My boots were old and I cannot even remember the brand, had to toss them after this hike! These Chloe boots though… very similar! Remy is wearing a Molo sweater from a year or more ago, and a Zara jumper from last year, Motoretta tights, Bobo Choses hat, Gap star coat from last year, olive green jacket from Tea Collection from several years ago (bought it when she was a baby!) and forget brand of her boots. Arlo is wearing a thrifted corduroy skirt from Osh Kosh, thrifted sweater from DKNY, tights from Cat & Jack, hand-me-down boots from big sis (same brand), Bobo Choses hat, and thrifted coat.