September 23rd, 2018
TRAIL: Chief Mountain Trail
DESTINATION: Chief Mountain Peak
MILES: 3.1 miles; Out & Back
ELEVATION GAIN: 984 ft
LOCATION: Arapahoe National Forest
PARKING: Side of road
MY GRADE: 4.1/5
FAV PIC: Chief Mountain Peak, overlooking forest.
Chief Mountain Trail is located in the Arapahoe National Forest near Idaho Springs, CO. To get to the trail you take the Evergreen Parkway CO-74 and turn off onto Squaw Pass and follow the gorgeous mountain road for 12 miles. You arrive at the trail with a parking space on the side of the road. This trail is moderately trafficked, so you can expect to walk past several other groups every 15 minutes or so.
For today’s hike I decided to do it alone! This is my first solo hike and it’s safe to say most of my preconceived notions were dismantled early on in the hike. I worried that I would be bored with no one to talk to or share the moment with. However, contrary to my belief, I was engaged the entire hike. This solo hike gave me an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and dreams. I experienced somewhat of a therapeutic sensation as I finished the hike feeling completely rejuvenated.
I began my journey on an incline up the side of the mountain. The lush greens and yellows of the Rocky Mountains in September were in full display today. About 1/3 of the way up the hike, the astonishing views were finally peeking through the trees.
At this point I knew that this hike was going to provide some absolutely stunning views. I moved up the trail at a brisk pace in hopes of getting some much needed exercise after a long week in the office. As you trek up the trail, the dense forest begins to thin around you. This is where the views really begin to unfold. Pictured below is what I experienced.
My adrenaline spike instantly ended any high elevation fatigue I was experiencing. I felt like I was on a playground of natural splendor. With the finish in sight above, I raced to the peak of the mountain. The pictures below illustrate a 360° view atop Chief Mountain. The pictures could never do the real thing justice. There is something about the overpowering tranquility of being at the peak of a mountain.
THOUGHTS FROM THE PEAK:
I sat at the peak of Chief Mountain looking out over the vast beauty and was intensely submerged into deep existential thought. I kept imagining my life as a soaked sponge full of “liquid” experiences. If I had stayed home instead of “squeezing the life sponge” by getting off my butt and doing something amazing, I would’ve missed out on this. So from now on, I will put myself in situations to soak my sponge with opportunities and then proceed to squeeze the hell out of it.
There is no promised tomorrow.
After some time for mediation, I threw in the headphones and made my way back down the mountain to complete the hike.
Thank you for reading and viewing more amazing pictures of Chief Mountain Trail. Follow here or at my Instagram account @2_summit_up to see more soon!