Another Colorado Backpacking Adventure

Another Backpacking Adventure! A beautiful Colorado hike close to Boulder to Arapaho Pass and Diamond Lake. Rocky Mountain vistas on the continental divide

Last year, our 4-mile Colorado backpacking adventure turned into eight very long treacherous miles to Sawtooth Mountain and Coney Lakes in the Rocky Mountains. We made it just in time to pitch a tent and make dinner before night descended. Believe it or not, I looked forward to another.

This year, the 2.4-mile hike to Arapaho Pass seemed easy peasy. Only a short drive from Boulder to Nederland, the Fourth of July Trailhead was a few miles down a very slow and bumpy road. Even though my pack weighed 30 pounds, I was able to pick it up throw it on my back. Personal training paid off. Yes!

Backpackers start at Fourth of July Trailhead with fun dog.

I couldn’t believe the number of wildflowers. The sun cast a striking iridescence.

Wild Flowers on Fourth of July Trail

Travel tip!

My cell phone runs out since I take tons of video and photos. Courtney’s boyfriend, Dan, suggested putting it in Airplane Mode. Aha! Totally did the trick.

Without service, I completely chilled out. No blogging, emails, or social media. Ahhh….

On Fourth of July trail to Arapaho Pass

See the dark clouds beyond the mountaintop and the tent below? It hailed moments later.

Setting up camp on Arapaho Pass, Courtney and Dan admire their progress while their dog, Lady looks on

Between storms, we hiked up to the pass and had a look around.

On top of Arapaho Pass

Lightning is nothing to mess with when you’re above treeline. When dark-bellied clouds formed again, we headed down and stopped to filter and replenish our water supply.

Pumping water on Arapaho Pass

Freeze-dried dinner anyone? We feasted on Chicken teriyaki, lasagne, AND pad Thai. Dan was a hungry man. So were we!

After a super cold night where I couldn’t get warm, I enjoyed instant Starbuck’s coffee. Amazing! I couldn’t tell it wasn’t fresh brewed. No lie.

There's nothing better than drinking coffee the morning after camping and backpacking.

We packed up and hiked back down the trail to Diamond Lake. Danny got hassled for his permit which hung on his pack. It gave us permission to camp the night before. She assumed we were heading to the lake to weasel another night. Nope. “Just a detour, ma’am.” She must not have had the same Starbuck’s start to her day. Sheesh!

More amazing wildflowers right before the lake.

Wildflowers grow in a field outside of Diamond Lake. Arapaho Pass and the mountains in the background

Made it!

Backpacking to Diamond Lake with beautiful view of mountains

After a quick lunch, we hiked the last couple of miles to the truck. Whew!

As we drove down from Nederland, we all regained cell service. Oh, well. Back to civilization. I checked my steps. We hiked almost 7 miles each day!

Another great backpacking adventure.

Have you backpacked or camped? Would you go again?

Click for more travel, inspiration, and misadventures on the Wild Ride.

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Surrounded by Eye Candy – A Photo Essay

Hikes Near Boulder - A Backpacking Adventure to consider! Outdoor adventures, Colorado hikes, travel North America, camping #Traveltips #travel #hiking #camping

58 thoughts on “Another Colorado Backpacking Adventure

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  1. OMG!It’s getting pretty bad when you’re hassled about a piece of paper way out in the wilderness like that. They should be more concerned about your safety from grizzlies than whether you have the right paper allowing you to breathe the precious air that they claim ownership of. Overzealous bureaucrats makes me so mad.
    I love the wildflowers. What a gorgeous bit of scenery you went through. Thanks for sharing this lovely post, Susie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Anneli!
      Since I was the last to arrive when Danny spoke the ranger, I didn’t realize what had happened. I wondered why he was talking with her for so long. He’s such a nice guy and never wants to be in trouble. He was an Eagle Scout and knows the rules! He was going to report her if he saw another ranger. Other than that and the hailstorm, it was an amazing adventure!

      It’s very rare to see so many varieties of wildflowers bloom at once. I took so many pictures, but none really did them justice when looking at a small photo. Absolutely breathtaking!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet the flower pics would lend themselves to being zoomed in and focusing on a small portion of the display. Anyway they are beautiful and I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see them in real time.

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  2. The hail is pretty bad this year! We always stick to free trails as much as possible to avoid the power struggle of everything.

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    1. That was ridiculous and the first time we’ve been hassled. She must have needed that second cup of coffee. Ha!

      Yes, hail really messed up our landscape this year. Being in the mountains, I’m so glad we could seek shelter in our tents! We ran into two men who were caught in it. They stood behind trees. Another ducked behind a bush. Above treeline, any brush is pretty dang hard to find!
      Thanks, Molly!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John!

      Exactly. For me, it’s also answering a challenge after surgeries and rehab. I’m getting stronger! I also felt so relaxed being forced to unplug. There wasn’t any reception until we drove to Nederland!

      I just added the video! You really hear the wind howling on the edge of that storm. Although, there is a prevailing wind that high in elevation. Quite an adventure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been posting a series called “Hitch Hiking” – my wife’s idea to do a fun hike then watch a classic Hitchcock thriller…being outdoors for extended periods, away form the urban crush, is so refreshing!

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  3. Beautiful. (That coffee isn’t too bad at all…and so necessary.)
    Looks like a great time (Lightning always freaks me out – In college had it hit a pine tree and skin it all the way down about 10 feet in front of me. Whew.)
    Love the doggy back pack! (Dogs need a job – and the fun of going along)
    Cool trip

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    1. Thanks so much, Phil!

      I’m so glad the tree grounded the strike and not you!!! Lightning freaks me out too, especially when we are the tallest objects around! I had heard that hikers should toss their packs and lay flat on the ground. I’m so glad we didn’t have to do that!

      Lady carries her own food and water! We left Roxy at home.

      it really was a gorgeous hike!

      Like

  4. Looks like such a beautiful hike! I love the wildflowers. Never been to Colorado, but the husband and I are going to make a trip there soon. I will keep this hike in mind for when we go. So beautiful!

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  5. Colorado is so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to visit there 🙂

    Also, I always put my phone in airplane mode too when I’m hiking or camping to “unplug” and conserve battery.

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  6. Looks like a great adventure. You guys are truly following your bliss.

    Sorry for your run-in with the ranger. Good thing she didn’t find those plastic straws in your backpack, Susie! However, you know I am always here for you with bail money if needed.

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  7. Very gorgeous. Looks like a lot of work though. I enjoy camping but I’m not too much into backpacking. Too much work.

    Thank for sharing. I love the wild flowers.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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    1. Thanks, Patricia!

      It is like playing house only you have to make do with basic equipment and no bathrooms! Cadillac camping (out of a car) seems so easy to me now.
      I didn’t do much on Monday!

      Like

  8. So glad you all were safe from the storm! They are no joke and always freak me out extra above tree line. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a disappointing hike in Colorado! Such a beautiful landscape and the flowers all seemed to bloom at once this year perhaps due to the drought. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

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    1. Thanks so much, Victorialise!
      You’re right about the wildflowers. We’re up in Breck this weekend and they are blooming like crazy!
      I’ve known people who have been struck by lightning and only want it to happen to me in the metaphorical sense. Ha!

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      1. Yes, it can especially at altitude.

        I remember on the 5-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu back in 2011. For the first few days, donkey’s carried supplies. On the 4th day this wasn’t possible, so we had to carry our own stuff. Walking 20kms with around an extra 10kgs, really gets to your body. Lucky we had a basic hotel for that night and not staying in tents as previous nights.

        I’ll get around to writing about Peru, just finished Argentina and writing about Bolivia now. 🙂

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        1. Cool beans! It sounds like you’ve been on some amazing adventures! I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. Wow!
          I took a 6 mile hike on a pretty flat trail yesterday and felt like a lark! Elevation is everything!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Try to fit a few things in before the inevitable. 🙂

            Always a good idea to stay a week or so at that elevation before starting the trek, then it makes the trek a little easier. Although we trekked around 75kms in 4 days on the Salkantay so my feet were sore.
            The 5th day was spent walking around incredible Machu Picchu, from sunrise to sunset. 🙂

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  9. Duuuuuude. This is so amazing. I’m loving these posts with all these awesome National Geographic style pics! Man these hikes look so great. Out there with nature definitely refuels the body and soul. So glad you were able to have another Wild Rider adventure and that your personal training paid off 🙂 The lake and wild flowers were such great pics … I’m telling. Colorado is on the list 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Oh! By the way I just got that airplane mode tip too! I had no idea that helped out. Someone just shared that with me on my trip last month. I’m catching up with the times 🙂 Have a great week!

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    1. You are a beast running while on vacation!!!
      Thanks so much, Guat! I tweaked the photos to get that same iridescent feel to them and worried it was too much. We hiked yesterday with that same low light. It can be amazing!
      My puny muscles are starting to grow, finally! I actually have visible quadriceps that don’t resemble spaghetti. Ha! Are you doing the fireman’s run again?
      I wonder how many other tips I’m not aware of. Lol!
      Have a splendid week too, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Duuuude it’s been so hot over here that my kids haven’t woken up early enough to go on a hike, but the beach and pool have been our jam 🙂 I did go running on vacation it makes me feel zen like before taking on the day, especially if I’m surrounded by nature, I’m all over that because as you know I have to drive to get to nature around here. So if it’s just around the corner when I’m on vacation I try to take advantage 🙂 And yes! I did my fireman race it was a couple months ago, you might have missed the post, but it’s all good because my muscles remembered that one for a long time.

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    1. Thanks, Peg! I’m finally getting back into shape. It took a while and I still have a ways to go. I’ve been thinking about launching another Wild Rider Fitness Challenge. It really motivated me last time.

      Like

  10. What a beautiful hike! Don’t you love a good storm when you’re camping? And qho decides that those freeze-dried meals are enough for a dinner?

    Very impressive wind sounds at the top. Cheers to you.

    Like

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