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February 20, 2015

Flashback Friday: Jacobsen Family Colorado Trip | {Shelbie}

February 20, 2015

This past September, the whole Jacobsen clan took what was probably the last family vacation for just the five of us. Being lovers of the mountains, fresh open air and the breathtaking scenery, of course we had to make another trip to Colorado. We decided to go somewhere we had never been before, and that lead us to a cabin in the Arapaho Mountains right outside of Evergreen, CO.

In this post, I wanted to share with you our favorite day of the entire trip. We heard there is a natural hot springs in Glenwood Springs, so we decided to go. We didn't have set plans that particular day, so it was a go-with-the-flow kind of day. A few of us got up early that morning to do a little wake-me-up hike. We then got ready, piled in the rented GMC and took off for what we thought would be a relaxing day at the hot springs.

From Evergreen to Glenwood Springs it was about a 2.5 hour drive, so naturally we were prepared to make a few pit stops. On the way, we saw a sign for St. Mary's Glacier and thought sure, why not? We exited Interstate 70 and eagerly headed toward the day's first adventure. Up and up and up we went pondering when we would eventually find the trailhead. After a couple of U-turns, we successfully found it! The hike is 3/4 mile one-way, which is a piece of cake, right? Of course my father and I took the lead. It was such a beautiful hike up, but even better when we got to the glacier. (But really, every part of Colorado is beautiful!)

Feeling great after experiencing St. Mary's Glacier, we packed up and continued our journey to Glenwood Springs. The first sight of that 'Welcome to Glenwood Springs' sign brought pure joy to all of our faces. Unfortunately, about 15 minutes after arriving, our joy turned to disappointment. We didn't really know what to expect for the hot springs. Although it is natural, it looked like a regular swimming pool—not quite the experience we were hoping for.

Instead, we decided to take a gondola up the mountain and tour a cave (like we haven't already toured 5 caves all the times we've been to Colorado). We made the best of Glenwood Springs but eventually decided it was time to head home for the day. Feeling defeated, we thought we would have a long, annoying car ride home. To our surprise, we stumbled upon another hiking trail that struck our interest.

Hanging Lake sounds pretty cool, right? We thought so. It was later in the day, so my mom decided to sit this hike out. Before even getting to the trailhead the views were magnificent. When we saw the sign at the trailhead we became a little hesitant. It was about a 2.5 mile round-trip hike, all of which felt like it was straight uphill.

There weren't really any paths; you basically just have to orchestrate your way up through the rocks. Let's just say this hike was a challenge, but the Jacobsens love challenges. We got about half way up and I'm not lying when I say we were huffing and puffing. We trudged on in hopes that it really was as magical as everyone we met on the way up made it out to be.

Once we reached the top, we didn't know why we had ever questioned stopping. It really was majestic, like a faraway land you only read about in storybooks. The crystal clear water reflected the sunlight as it peacefully flowed over the mountain rocks. It really is a brilliant work of art by nature—one I think everyone should experience. Oh, and of course we had to snap some tourist-worthy photos.

Our bummer of a day in Glenwood Springs turned out to be our favorite day because of Hanging Lake (well, and the day we saw Tom Petty at Red Rocks!). Basically, our day was full of hiking... and it showed. Megan's fitbit said we had walked over 20,000 steps! Those were 20,000 draining, sweat-infused steps—but totally worth it!

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