Corner view: Saturday
We did not intend to head into the mountains on a Saturday.
As longtime residents of the highcountry, we are generally wise to the tides of humanity that flow in and out of the mountains on weekends and holidays. Generally, we avoid. But on this particular occasion my mum had just returned from her roadtrips through the desert, and we had only two weekend days on which to do the things we had been hoping to do as a family. So we packed our day trip bags, and headed for Saint Mary's Glacier with all of humanity.
Q preparing for the adventure (she still sometimes gets the wrong shoe on the wrong foot...but she figures it out eventually. Her independent streak has taken over, and she wants to do it "aaaall by" herself.
Mathilda in the back of the car, resigned to her fate. She's an especially good car dog (luckily for us) and doesn't get restless or carsick.
Q, already pushing naptime as we set out on our journey.
We stopped off in the historic mining town of Idaho Springs for handmade chocolates and a break from long hours in the car.
Idaho Springs is a lovely town full of independent coffee shops, wrought-iron railings, quaint churches and well-kept Victorian houses. At Christmas, every jewel-like Victorian is strung with elaborate lights that set the snowy nights aglow. In summer, the picket fences and iron railings are twined with a fairytale array of climbing roses and vigorous columbine.
The hairpin road that leads to St. Mary's terminates in a clear alpine lake, popular for fishing and summer cabins. From there, one finds the trail that winds through boulders and skree to the glacier itself.
Q has up until now been a big fan of riding everywhere on her papa's shoulders or her mommy's hip. This was her first time making the entire hike on her own two feet, and she did an admirable job, especially at high altitude.
Taking water from daddy's Camelback, a trick she learned just recently on her first camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes.
Topping out at the lake that lies, indigo and tranquil, at the foot of the glacier.
Dipping tired feet in the icy water.
My mum photographing the deep blue Colorado skies over the lake.
Q taking a snack break on the pebbled shore.
After a long and successful hike, she gets a well-deserved break on Mommy's shoulders.
The glacier dips its toes in the water, as grateful pet dogs cool off in the lake.
Headed back down, we share the trail with shorts-clad hikers who have climbed the glacier with their powder skies on their backs for the sake of a brief run back down through early-summer corn snow.
By the time we made our return trek, the skies had begun to menace with afternoon thunderstorms.
And Q, worn out from her first serious hike...the sun...the snow...had passed out cold on my shoulder.
Sound asleep in her car seat for the journey back down the winding highways to lower altitudes, and home.