” Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years”
June is one of my favorite months of the year. Its the beginning of the summer, the weather is gorgeous, and the mountains start bursting with color! It also happens to be our birthday month!! We have nine days between our birthdays. You know what that means!!?….BIRTHDAY ROADTRIP! We don’t need cake or gifts, just precious time spent together in the wilderness. Okay, I will take some cake…who am I kidding!? I’ll actually take some gifts too. Haha! My point is, we just love exporing together and what better way to celebrate than in the mountains! Our good friend was also celebrating his birthday the same week so he joined us for the birthday festivities! Three birthday parties!? Sign me up!!
This year was a little tricky because we had to re-route our trip a couple times due to the Colorado fire bans and the San Juan Forest closure. But with a little bit of finagling, my husband mapped out an incredible trip!
Here was our route:
Day 1 and 2: Grand Lake, Colorado- Happy Birthday Todd!
We started our weekend at Winding River Ranch in Grand Lake. It was party time! Our friend’s Jordan and Zach were getting married and we couldn’t of been more excited to start our trip this way! We got to camp on the property and enjoy over 200 acres of babbling brooks, rustic cabins, sweeping landscapes, and enough moose to get your fix for the year! The property was simply gorgeous…it was one of the most beautiful weddings we have ever been to.
Our favorite part of Grand Lake: We saw seven moose at the same time. I barely see a moose a year and we saw seven people! SEVEN! The sunset was glowing, the drinks were flowing, and the moose definitely put on a show. It was a magical moment for everyone.
Day 3: Medicine Bow, Wyoming
Our plan was to camp on Dipper Lake and hike Medicine Bow Peak in the morning. Holy coldness! This doesn’t feel like June! When we started up the trail to the lake, we quickly noticed that the snow doesn’t disappear in Wyoming this time of year. We couldn’t even get up the road! We found a beautiful, less muddy/snowy spot on a different lake, but only stayed one night before continuing on. After all, its summertime and we don’t want to freeze our booties off! Bring on the sunshine and warmers temps!
Day 4: Dinosaur National Monument, on the border of UT and CO
This is one of those mysterious places where you just keep driving and driving….but there doesn’t seem to be anything around. You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere and then ~*BAM*~, there’s a huge canyon! How could this even be here!!? We drove down the trail towards Echo Park, passing huge red rock formations, bright orange sand dunes, abandoned ranches, and petrogylphs. The canyon walls surrounded you on all sides while you made your decent into camp. It was truly overwhelming how amazing this canyon was! And then it only got better from there!! Our campsite was within walking distance of the river, right where the Green River and the Yampa River meet. This was hands down my favorite camp spot of the whole trip!
Day 5: Hiking and Day Drinking on the River
We were so stoked on this camp spot that we decided to stay another night. We spent our whole day drinking beers on the sand bar, making sand castles, grilling out, listening to tunes, and enjoying the sushine with these incredible views!
Day 6: Off-roading to Moonshine Arch and Ashley National Forest, UT- Happy Birthday Mikey!!
Since my hubby is the sweetest and knows how much I love hiking, he brought me to this gorgeous arch as a little birthday surprise! No words can describe how cool this was! I was super excited to actually hike around this area because when we visited Arches National Park last fall, we got rained out and didn’t get to explore much. After the arch, we made our way to Ashley National Forest in Utah. This forest is MASSIVE! We spent a long day driving and decided to set up camp in a dense aspen grove. We drank peach whiskey moscow mules in a sea of purple wildflowers, it was a perfect end to an awesome day.
Day 7: Bushwhacking to Flaming Gorge, UT
We spent so much time driving on Day 6 that we thought it would be a bright idea to take a questionable offroading trail across the forest to the Flaming Gorge. This would be way faster than back tracking on the highway. Apparantly wagons used to travel this trail back in the day, so I say…” wagons didn’t have suspension like we do, we can totally make it!!” Haha. This sounded like a good idea at the time until we started traveling down this road with barely enough space for our trucks to fit through. We had to cut about 30 downed trees out of the way, had to use machetes to take down branches, and shimmy through huge boulders. I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it! We gave the truck some Utah racing stripes but after traveling 9 miles, in 4 hours…we finally made it out! Lol…guess we should of taken the road but then we wouldn’t have such a fun story to tell! When we arrived at the Red Canyon in Utah, it made our jungle experience all worth it! The views were spectacular! We set up camp right on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. We did a late night paddle, grilled some steaks for our buddie’s birthday, and slept with the sounds of the reservoir waves crashing around us.
Day 8: Beer Olympics at Casa D’ Steele in Leadville, CO- Happy Birthday Nelly!
Sad that our trip was coming to an end, we at least had one more night of fun to be had at our best friend’s house in Leadville. We started our long trek back to Colorado for the birthday beer olympics, Steele style. 🙂 Since our friends have such a new badass spot in the mountains, we all got to camp on their acre of land after a night of corn hole, horse shoes, beer pong, and other beer drinking shenanigans. We enjoyed birthday cake by the fire, ( hehe, I got my cake) tons of laughs, and the best company a birthday girl could ask for.
Day 9: Head Home
Waaaah, its over! Thanks for following along on all of our adventures and make sure to check back to the goodness for more of our fun-filled explorations! Get out there and ELEVATE YOUR HAPPINESS!