Last minute backpacking trip to Chicago Lakes

The theme of many of our weekend adventure trips had become all about Jeeping after getting our “new” wheels in June, so it was time to bring it back to the original, organic method of scoring gorgeous views — hoofin’ it on foot!

Our three-day camping trip for the Fourth of July weekend had been exhausting, even though it was mostly “just” driving, so we hadn’t planned on doing another camping trip again the following weekend because it would mean more driving! With happy hour bevies in hand and pjs on our bottoms, there was no hint we were headed anywhere that Saturday afternoon at 3 P.M., except the comfy couch in our living room.

I happened to be going through old photos from the previous summer while drinking my bevy and came across a long day hike I had done with our dachshund, Banana. I remarked to Bryce that we should backpack to that destination sometime because there were three gorgeous alpine lakes, as well as a stunning waterfall that cascaded down from one lake above into another lake below… oh, and several nice spots for camping.

Em’s solo day hike to Chicago Lakes with Banana, August 2019.

Next thing you know, we were scrambling around the house and basement for our lightweight backpacking gear and packing for an overnight backpacking trip! We only had to give it one quick thought before we reasoned, why not go NOW?! The trailhead was only an hour away and the beauty (and convenience) of not having kids is that we could do this exact type of impromptu and exciting activity! And since we are well-versed in what we need for overnight car camping trips, it wasn’t difficult for us to figure out in a pinch what we would need for an overnight backpacking trip. In fact, we needed much less stuff, so we were packed and ready to go in less than an hour!

We started our hike around 5 P.M. and a quick three hours and five miles later, we were already settled in our new digs for the night!

As usual, I’ll let the pictures tell the story of our fun, overnight adventure. Our trip went off without a hitch and it goes without saying that we had no regrets for doing this adventure on a whim…except not tightening that 8 oz. Nalgene bottle filled with whisky that ended up soaking my second set of clothes to change into…but thank goodness we packed plenty of happy hour bevies!

Trips like this have a way of making you feel like you haven’t lived life at all if you don’t live life on a whim and let it take it take you where you were meant to go. We can only hope that many more trips of this kind await us in our future.

Packed and ready to go in an hour for our hike and overnight adventure!
Trailhead for Chicago Lakes in the Mount Evans Wilderness.
As with any adventure, the dachs came along and I wore sandals.
Steep section at the start of the hike.
Reaching lower Chicago Lakes after 2.5 hours of hiking.
Cheersin’ after setting up camp and hiking above lower Chicago Lake.
Stunning waterfall flowing into lower Chicago Lake.
Hubby retrieving water from upper Chicago Lake.
Sun was already setting after we set up camp shortly before 8 P.M., so we were eating dinner in the dark by the time we finished exploring and taking photos for a bit. For dinner, we cooked a box of fried rice and canned tuna.
Sunrise on the peaks near our campsite.
Our campsite in the woods. Since we arrived pretty late, it was slim pickin’s for available spots away from other people and we got stuck with this slanted site.
We packed for our trip in under an hour, which meant we had to pick from whatever food we had already in our pantry. Luckily, I had this old, but still good, pouch of freeze-dried backpacking food (biscuits & gravy) that only required boiled water. It was actually REALLY good! Roxie wanted some, too!
Admiring the waterfall that was in earshot of our campsite, but not eye sight. If we had arrived earlier, we might have been able to snag one of the incredible campsites close to it!
Bluebells decorate the trail near the waterfall flowing down from upper Chicago Lake.
There is no trail too long for these old dogs! The dachshunds easily conquered the 12-mile trail!
We were VERY grateful to have cloudy weather on our hike out because the long trail actually dips down into a valley midway through, which means there is an incline to get out!

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