Solo Backpacking Trip: Eagles Nest Wilderness

Upper Cataract Lake

I've really gotten in to backpacking over the past few months. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of car camping trips throughout Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana, so I'm not surprised I've developed a love of sleeping in the great outdoors. At the end of June, I embarked on my first solo backpacking trip - and it was a transcendent experience.

I chose a 15 mile loop in the Eagles Nest Wilderness outside of Silverthorne, Colorado for my Walden-style trek. The hike starts at the Eaglesmere Trailhead and visits a handful of beautiful alpine lakes: Eaglesmere Lakes, Upper Cataract Lake, Surprise Lake, and Lower Cataract Lake. Here is a map of the loop. I spent Saturday night at Upper Cataract Lake (~9 miles into loop) and hiked the rest of the way out (~6 miles) on Sunday.

Venturing into the wilderness by myself was intensely peaceful. I followed the trail as it meandered through beautiful meadows, over majestic waterfalls, and beneath towering evergreen trees. I cooled off from the heat in the cool, clear waters of the alpine lakes. I chased the sun and yoga'd on a perfectly flat boulder under a pink-orange sunset sky. I fell asleep to the sounds of nature and woke up to sunlight streaming through my tent. I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, wrote a little, and reflected a lot. Overall, the trip left me feeling centered - physically, mentally, and emotionally. The rest of the summer is pretty booked up with pre-planned adventures, but I have a feeling this won't be my only solo trip. Till next time, Walden.

Eaglesmere Lakes

Surprise Lake