FOUR PASS LOOP - MAROON BELLS

Back in September, Daniel and I went on our first backpacking trip in Aspen. Daniel inspired me to seek adventure after he went backpacking in California with a friend earlier this year. I never thought I would actually want to sleep in the mountains night after night, as well as eat a freeze dried meal after a long days hike.

I had known for a few months that we would be backpacking sometime in September. We set aside four days to disconnect from our phones, our computers and everyday comforts. A week before our trip, I had come across one of the most epic hikes I could find in Colorado: The Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells. As someone who hikes a handful of times a year, I felt confident I could do the 26-mile trek with 40 lbs on my back in four days. But after further research, I just about chickened out on the entire trip after discovering all the potential ways I could die out in the wilderness. Lightning bolts, anyone? 

Our journey began at 3am. We prepped our podcasts, grabbed our coffee and drove four hours into the mountains. Before we knew it, we were in Aspen in search of our trail. I won't bore you with all the details via this blog post, rather, I'll let the photos bring you along our journey. After all, I'm a full-time photographer, not blogger.

By the time we finished, we had climbed a total of four mountain passes totaling 12,000 feet or more with each pass.  The views and peak season for wild flowers are what kept us moving with each step. I am pretty sure I said, "OMG, look at that!" over a thousand times. We spent three nights camping out in the wilderness, and after a while, it began to feel like home. I actually remember feeling naked when I would take my heavy sweaty backpack off at night. It became a part of me. 

In all, this hike brought me closer to myself and it reminded me that I can do anything. It also reminded me that my body is strong and that my mind is the only barrier to the world that is out there. 

If you are thinking about backpacking, do it this summer and go on this trail. You won't regret the serenity and simplicity of life which backpacking has to offer. And those those who are interested in taking on this same adventure, we did the West Maroon Trail (clockwise).

***For all you camera nerds I brought the lightest camera and lens I owned, my Canon 6D and my 50mm 1.8. I do wish I had brought my 35mm 1.4, but I wanted to keep my backpack as light as possible. Shooting scenic photos with a 50mm is painful, so I did a lot of panos to show more of the landscape.***