Second expedition was truly extraordinary. After an easy first day we hiked to our second (even more beautiful) location on day two. The trail leading up to our campsite was covered with overgrown wildflowers and the spot itself was awesome. On day three we spent the day hanging out by Hagerman Lake either climbing or fishing. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to fish without hooks, and they had been left at our last camp. Dylan super speedily ran 6 miles back to get them and found 27 Starbucks Via packets on the way. The next day we summited a beautiful mountain which overlooked Leadville to get to our campsite. Spirits were high and so were we, in elevation. We camped in a stunning saddle overlooking Leadville and the mountains around us. The sun set, and all was good. On day four we ran into another HMI group and spent a lovely hour conversing. Afterwards, we hiked in groups to our next location—a picturesque lake. Upon arrival, we all waded in the lake and hung out on a big rock in the center. That night we went to bed early and woke up at five a.m. to summit Mt. Massive. The stars were out and we made hot drinks before starting out on our hike and watching the sun rise from the top of a ridge. When we returned to camp, it rained and we napped. We saw a double rainbow as well as a great sunset. On the seventh day, everything was wet. We hiked to our next camp spot, next to South Willow Lake. Originally, we were planning on hiking over ten miles but were told that the campsite had water the sizzled when it touched salt, so we smashed that plan. At camp, we wrote our “This I Believe” essays and had a wonderful time hanging out together. The next morning we woke up bright and early, packed up camp, and began our hike out. We monitored pikas on a lovely talus field before hiking back to the parking lot and getting picked up. All in all, group A had an amazing journey.
From hiking, rock climbing, and fishing, Group B had a great second expedition. On the first day we camped on an open meadow and slept under the stars. The second day we hiked off trail in order to reach the campsite for our first layover day. That day we were hiking by 5:00 a.m. to summit Mount Massive—the second tallest mountain in Colorado. Every member of our group summited and we were surprised to run into our friends on the way down! We continued on to Hagerman Pass where we went rock climbing and fly fishing. The next day we hiked over the Continental Divide to Virginia Lake where we ended up taking another layover day due to bad weather. We ended our trip with a quiet hike in order to reflect on the expedition as a whole. The end of this expedition was bittersweet. We will miss being immersed in the backcountry but we are excited to be back on campus for our solo experiences and Full Circle.
Second expedition was full of highlights! On our first night we spotted a beaver—a first for many of us. On July 24th we celebrated Kayla’s sweet sixteen with a backcountry birthday cake. Although there were many fun times our group also faced some challenges. Never the less we pushed through and had many more fun and exciting moments such as summiting Mt. Massive and running into expedition Group B near the top! Second expedition was action packed and a fantastic way to end our time at HMI.