Keegan and I attempted the Ute Trail back in July 2016. The crisp mountain air and cooler temps weren’t the problem. At 11,000 feet, I struggled to catch my breath and had to turn around. Hiking above the treeline can be fun but challenging. I didn’t push myself so hard back then, so I figured it’d be nice to try this hike again.
This trail appeared very different in September than July. I missed the stunted mountain flowers in boom in the summer, but that was not to deter us from completing the hike. Just goes to show how selective one must be in choosing a trail, depending on the season.
Keegan and I continued past our stopping point below the treeline. Two years ago, we paused at the scenic outlook and turned around. This time, we explored the wooded section of the Ute Trail. To my surprise, this trail varied both in scenery and gains.
For anyone interested in hiking the Ute Trail, be sure to start at Milner’s Pass and not the Alpine Visitor’s Center. We actually climbed up in elevation on what should have been our way back down. It was tough, but we did it.
I was so excited to cross over the Continental Divide! It’s one thing to take a car tour and another to actually hike the damn trail. This marked another to-do crossed off my bucket list.
Keegan packed lunch for us, so we enjoyed our picnic near Poudre Lake before heading back to the visitor center. The sandwiches and snacks kept me fueled for the walk to the car. I felt so accomplished but still had 4 miles to go.
The Ute Trail delivered autumn tones of gold, amber and rust peppered throughout the hike. With rose-colored glasses, I absorbed the scenery, took a deep breath and thanked the universe for living so close to the Rockies.
Even the evergreens looked amazing, with the focus feature on my phone. Keegan insists I should take a photography class and invest in a nice camera next year. I’m seriously considering his idea; the mountains offer ample opportunity to capture some magnificent shots. My goal would be to capture the beauty of ordinary moments and objects, such as this tree.
We conquered the trail and headed home, but not without a visit to our favorite duck pond. Coffee on the Rocks sells duck feed for only a dollar, and I’m always happy to hang with the ducks.
That’s all I have for now. In the meantime, here’s this: