A Thunderstorm, A Haunted Hotel, and a Hike

Good morning Smile

We’ve been awake for about an hour – just sipping on some local coffee we picked up yesterday, reading about what to do next in our RMNP literature, and gazing out the window at the Rockies.

I decided to take a peak (pun!) at the pictures we took from yesterday, and now want to write about it while the memories are second day fresh in my mind Smile



Yesterday after breakfast and some walking around the town, Shane and I decided to go on our first hike of the trip! We decided on Gem Lake – a 4 mile hike with about 1,000 feet elevation. As we made our trek down the mountain from our condo, the clouds looked a little ominous.


OK, a lot ominous. That was our view upon pulling up to the hiking spot Disappointed smile

After playing a game of should-we? shouldn’t-we? for about 15 minutes, we decided heck with it, and started into the mountains and onto our hike.


And about 10 minutes in, we heard several huge BOOMS! of thunder before I said “screw this!” and started running (literally – I can be a baby) back up the trail. Shane was not amused that I took off in a full sprint. About 5 minutes into our “run” the skies opened up and soaked us.



Although we only got a half mile in, it felt good to get my blood pumping.

With hiking plans foiled by the storm – for now – we drove a couple miles down the road and stopped at the famous Stanley Hotel – the hotel at which The Shining was filmed.


We hung out and scoped the place out for about 30 minutes, and when we came back outside, we saw the sky cleared and the storm had passed.


Shane asked, “should we go back and try the hike again?” And it was go time.


Funnily enough, when we returned to the trails, we realized we had actually taken the wrong trail the first time! We went the wrong way – and so this hike was completely new for us. It was also a workout. We huffed and puffed and climbed our way up. Luckily, the views we experienced are worth my sore calves and glutes this morning.





We took quite a few rest/view stops, and then continued our way up, up, up!


Until finally, about an hour and 10 minutes in, we saw the sign…


WE MADE IT!!!! And even though the views along the way made it worth it, the lake at the top of the mountain was the most serene, peaceful place I’ve ever visited.



Although we packed and ate sandwiches before the (first) hike, by the time we got to the top, we’d worked up an appetite! So we dug into the trail mix we packed…


…and then very quickly realized someone else wanted in on our goods.


There were about 5 of them, and they came right up to us! One even climbed on my shoe!! It was the craziest and cutest thing ever.

The hike back down was much easier physically, but I think I almost biffed about 8 times. Luckily, there were no injuries or twisted ankles…just great memories! And some sore muscles Winking smile

By the time we were done, we were so tired from the hike, the day, and not sleeping much the night before. So we grabbed some pork chops and wine  for dinner – and Shane cooked them on the grill. A nice relaxing night of hot tub, grilling out, and trivia was exactly what we needed.

And kudos to you if you made it this far in this lengthy post! Open-mouthed smile

Do you consider yourself an outdoorsy person?

I actually don’t consider myself very outdoorsy. I told Shane when we came here that although I was super excited to hike, I didn’t want to do any 2 + day hikes. I’m not a fan of camping out in a tent! Running water for me, thanks Winking smile

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  1. I LOVE hiking. I wish there were more trails near by where I live. When we hiked in Colorado at Blend it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Looks like you guys are having a blast! Enjoy!!

  2. Wow that scenery is just breathtaking

  3. I LOVE chipmunks! The ones near our lake house in Maine are so tame, when we were little they’d come right up and eat out of our hands, we LOVED it. they aren’t quite as tame now but they still come close if we put peanuts out on the deck for them to nibble on. SO CUTE!!

  4. I didn’t used to be outdoorsy, but I LOVE it now. The sites on your hike are absolutely amazing! Mountains never cease to take my breath away, they’re so amazing!

    And that’s so cool that you went to the hotel! I’m a bit Stephen King fan, so I definitely would have enjoyed that one :p

  5. LOVE the Rockies :) hubby and I went there for labor day last year and it was a total blast :)

  6. What gorgeous views you guys had! I don’t enjoy hiking too much, I’m definitely not very outdoorsy, but I’ll hike sometimes if my friends or family want to. Have fun!!!

  7. You guys are troopers!! I’ve never heard the term “biff” before. :)

  8. Love this post! Great photos and so neat that you went back post-rain storm for another go…how beautiful! We live in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and are so blessed to have access to great trails and mountains as well (slightly different mountains but lots of similarities too); we’re definitely “outdoorsy people,” or at least other people consider us that. I LOVE getting outside and especially like rock climbing and have a love-hate relationship with hiking. 😉

    However, I hate chipmunks! I have this funny thing about wildlife being WILD – we can pet chipmunks up here too and I don’t know why it bugs me so much! They shouldn’t be chubby and unafraid of people but lean animals darting around the rocks…Weird personal rant over… 😉 (but they sure are cute nonetheless – ha!) Keep having a blast down there, Paige!

  9. What a beautiful place to hike. I love the outdoors, as long as I don’t get hurt and no bugs are involved :)

  10. janetha says:

    I made it all the way through! Haha, loved it. I like reading about outdoor adventures. Glad you were able to hike despite the first foiling. And that’s so darn cute about the squirrels! xox

  11. WOW! These pictures are absolutely gorgeous, Paige! I especially love the little chipmunk– what a cutie! I’m so happy to see you’re enjoying your vacation!


  1. […] the intensity at first – don’t go on the biggest hike of your trip on the first day (like we did last year, […]

  2. […] 1. This afternoon, I’m taking off with a group of friends to go camping somewhere near Rocky Mountain National Park! I’m pretty pumped to sleep under the stars. But first, I’m headed out this morning with these two ladies to do one of my favorite hikes – Gem Lake: […]

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