The White River National Forest is located outside of Minturn, Colorado, just south of Vail. It is about two-and-a-half hours from Denver. We left home early Saturday morning and arrived around 9 a.m. and discovered a few surprises.
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We knew it would be cold, but the temperature was only 9 degrees Fahrenheit according to my Jeep when we pulled down the road. That was about 20-degrees colder than we anticipated, but we kept going.
That was, until we also discovered that the road we were supposed to take was closed by a gate 8 miles from the trailhead! We parked the car and began reviewing our options and the posted maps. Hoping we could still get out to camp.
The maps showed that there were trails off Homestead Road and campgrounds along the way, so we decided to hike the road and find a scenic place to camp for the night. Easy alternative!
We put on our packs and snowshoes and started walking. We didn’t know, at all, what to expect, and we didn’t know how beautiful our surroundings would be!
No Name Gulch:
The night was one of the most difficult we’ve experienced. Temperatures reached 8 degrees, and we didn’t have the proper gear. We struggled, fully clothed and shivering, through the night. We had even stuffed the feet of our sleeping bags with excess clothing save one jacket we draped over our dog Maria. We learned a lot that night and have already begun researching our upgrades.
Here are some items we wish we'd had better versions of:
If you want to see in more detail all of the gear we carry in our backpacks, check out the detailed blog post from Yellowstone National Park here!
We woke up the next morning with frost stuck to everything inside the tent, including my hat. We laughed at how ridiculous the situation we’d put ourselves in was, snuggled up with our pup, and waited for the sunshine to hit our tent and warm us up.
Once the sun was high enough in the sky, we stood in its rays and briskly packed up camp. After stuffing our bags and making one final sweep of the campsite, we started our hike back to the car. The trail was just as beautiful as the day before, but we were motivated by the warmth of my car.
The hike back was much faster than the wandering stroll the day before. Both of our hungry stomachs and frozen toes were encouraging us to make it back as fast as we could. We arrived at my car in about two hours, and we couldn’t have been happier with the heat or the trip we’d just had. It was an incredibly fun and beautiful weekend, but we would have loved it that much more if we had been properly prepared.
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I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!