This blog was written by Danielle Deering from The Adventure Project
When the leaves have all fallen and winter is nipping at our heels here in Colorado, there exists a small, perfect, little window for wild ice. A time when the temps have dropped just enough to freeze Maroon Lake, but not cover it in snow quite yet. There is something magical about taking part in something that only happens a handful of days out of an entire year. So much so, that our little adventure family was not going to miss out.
We had heard that there might be some epic skating up at Maroon Bells this time of year. We were also told to keep our ear to the ground for the local buzz that would occur when the lake froze. Pulling up to the Maroon Bells parking lot in winter, one would think it would not be quite as crazy as when the tourists are in full swing during summer and parking is non-existent. Well, not so much the case. The parking lot was overflowing with Colorado locals draped in skate gear. This must be the place, we thought.
We geared up ourselves, mom, dad, and our little ripper - 6 years old and full to the brim with adventure! As we caught glimpse of the bells, I don’t know which was more beautiful. The towering peaks that take your breath away every time, no matter how many times you’ve come to visit them. Or, the skating scene nestled below these mountains.
The ice was packed! There were organized hockey games, plenty of onlookers who just came for the show, and even a lone figure skater pulling out all the stops for a small audience that had gathered. We quickly found a corner of snow to set up camp on and popped our camping chairs up. It was one of those bluebird Colorado days you just live for. Not a cloud in the sky, sun beating down and an entire day to play. And, play we did.
Hitting the ice, we glided past pick-up hockey games, kicked a puck around ourselves, and watched as the glacial water below moved slightly when our weight was applied. We heard a group of people yelling about trout under their skates, but weren’t one of the lucky ones to see them in action. We skated until lunch time and then hit camp for some cold pizza and hot cocoa. I know, we keep it real fancy around here.
We got a few more hours in on the ice before the sun dipped below the Bells, and the temps dropped considerably and the wind moved in. We walked out of that sacred place, gear on our backs, smiles on our faces, knowing we’d just experienced something so insanely special. The beauty of the Bells draped in the background, sacred ice under feet. It was the perfect collision of elements coming together, just so. I don’t know about you, but we’ll be back next year.