Hanging Lake Birthday Hike

When it comes to birthdays I'm absolutely amazing at planning birthdays for my husband.  Just kidding that's a lie.  I fail miserably every time.  In fact, most of my plans end up being, "It seemed like a good idea at the time" ideas.  This year I planned to go up to Glenwood Springs for an overnight with the kids.  We would hike hanging lake, soak in the hot springs later, and just enjoy the fresh mountain air. I was sure the end result would be that kids would end up saying, "Mom you're the best mom ever."  My husband would lovingly say, "I'm so lucky to have you."  That ever elusive shiny best wife/mom trophy would be in my hand as my people would hoist me up....I mean that's kinda how it went.

Jace's birthday is smack in the middle of April, making it a 50/50 chance of good weather. We lucked out and it was 65 the day of our hike.  We started out and everyone was so excited.

Look at the kid's faces just lit up like a Christmas tree.  So much joy.

Look at the kid's faces just lit up like a Christmas tree.  So much joy.

Hanging Lake is located just before you get to Glenwood Springs.  The first .2 miles is pancake flat.  You know when you get to the trail because it starts going straight up and the river is constantly cascading down the mountain.

 

Sienna is 6 years old and was able to do the hike, but with 1,000 breaks.  The hike is short (a little over a mile) but it is over 1,000 feet in elevation gain.  

Bridge No. 3.  Just kidding I didn't keep track.  But Xander is really getting excited about getting to the top.

Bridge No. 3.  Just kidding I didn't keep track.  But Xander is really getting excited about getting to the top.

There are a lot of cool things along the way.  You can feel the mountain breathing it's cold frozen core.  Cold air seeps through the rocks giving you the feeling that a ghost just went through your body.  The cold air was a relief to Sienna, who became very hot on the hike.  She modified her hiking gear to accommodate her body temperature change to this....

If your hiking gear doesn't look like this, clearly you are doing it wrong.  The laughs along the trail were many.

If your hiking gear doesn't look like this, clearly you are doing it wrong.  The laughs along the trail were many.

Feel the cool air pour down.  Maybe I'll just stick my hand in this dark hole.  What's the worst that could happen? 

Feel the cool air pour down.  Maybe I'll just stick my hand in this dark hole.  What's the worst that could happen? 

The picture below kind of help illustrates how steep the trail is.  It never really flattens out.  Just up and up.  It was at this point I reassured Jace, "I promise the lake is even better than the photos."  Jace resentfully replies, "I didn't think the photos were all that great."  Xander chimed in, "Mom let's be honest, this birthday was for you." He was immediately grounded, I do that when I know he's probably right.

Adventure girl and her papa.

Adventure girl and her papa.

We finally made it and everyone was so very glad that I had pushed them to get to the top of the mountain to see this stunning beautiful lake.  Thrilled.  So. Happy. 

 

Xander and Sienna's life was so much better because of this hike.  (Xander's corners of his mouth are *almost* pointing up.)   

Xander and Sienna's life was so much better because of this hike.  (Xander's corners of his mouth are *almost* pointing up.)

 

It was at this point, Xander did start feeling a little more excited.  When you could look into the lake and see the fish and the water was crystal clear.  The water looked like the Carribean.  (I'm guessing I've actually never been)

 

This picture is still not giving it justice.

This picture is still not giving it justice.

Even though many trees still didn't have their leaves, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Even though many trees still didn't have their leaves, it was absolutely breathtaking.

We hung out at the lake for a little bit, snacked.  You could climb to the top of the waterfall.  Sienna said, "NOPE."  Jace answer was typical, "I mean I guess if you really want to I can."  I should probably tell you at this point that Jace had really hurt and swollen his knee two days prior and was being a real trooper about all of this.  He didn't back out, and if he had, I would have totally understood.  Xander wanted to go see what was above so we decided to hike up.

 

Maybe not a smile, but not a frown.  I think he's really enjoying himself.

Maybe not a smile, but not a frown.  I think he's really enjoying himself.

Just a very short hike above is a waterfall that is pouring out of a rock.  Xander thought this was really cool as you could go behind it and see the little caves.  At this point, the kids actually did seem to really like the end result of their hard climb.

 

First time behind a waterfall.  The things kids dreams are made of.  That's what I tell myself anyway.

First time behind a waterfall.  The things kids dreams are made of.  That's what I tell myself anyway.

Exploring the caves behind the waterfall.

Exploring the caves behind the waterfall.

The holy grail!  An actual smile.  She loved feeling the water dripping from the caves on her head.

The holy grail!  An actual smile.  She loved feeling the water dripping from the caves on her head.

Exploring, adventuring and getting out there.  I was pretty proud of this little one.

Exploring, adventuring and getting out there.  I was pretty proud of this little one.

After exploring and getting out there it was time to head off to the hot springs.  The entire hike took about 4 hours, so that pace is a painful 1/2 mile an hour.  We had to put Sienna on our back for the very last part of our hike.  But our 6-year-old, 10-year-old and 34-year-old with the bum swollen knee made it to the top and down and lived to tell the tale.  Everyone was pretty tired and dirty at the end.  We piled into the car and no one said anything for miles, and when the silence was finally broken, Jace said, "That was really cool.  I'm glad we did it.  Thanks for organizing that."

That was the only shiny trophy I needed.