When Jack and I were in Glenwood Springs, we knew we wanted to take the hike up to Hanging Lake. We had seen pictures of it and had heard people talking about it and it sounded like it was really pretty. Jack said that it was only about a 1/2 mile hike and we knew that it was steep, but it didn’t sound too bad, so we took off early in the morning to start our “1/2 mile hike”.
We thought we could take Sami, but when we got there we saw a sign that posted “no dogs allowed”. Jack asked some workers there about it and they said “there’s a pretty hefty fine if you get caught”, so we left her in the car, parked where we hoped there would be shade and with the windows down a little. We took water with us and had a small snack in our backpack and we started off.
When you’re hiking Hanging Lake, the beginning of the path is nice, with a little water and some benches. We saw a sign there that warned that the hike was “difficult, but thought that 1/2 mile couldn’t be too bad, so we continued. It didn’t take long to know why the hike was considered difficult. Besides being steep, which it definitely is in many areas, it also involves climbing over rocks and rough areas. Another thing I need to point out is that it isn’t 1/2 mile. It’s more like 1 1/4 miles each way, which isn’t bad if you’re on a flat surface or if you’re really in shape. If, however, you aren’t in great shape or you have knees that don’t like things like this, it’s a little painful. I should mention that on top of having bad knees, I’m also a natural born clutz, which doesn’t help situations like this at all! Fortunately, there are many places that you can rest at along the way and there’s even a little shelter part way up in case you get stuck in a storm or just want a place to sit for a few minutes. When you get to the top you realize just how far up you’ve gotten!
Toward the top, it’s very steep and right on the edge of the mountain. Fortunately, there’s a railing there that you can hold on to. Once you see the railing you’ll know that you aren’t too far from the lake and the waterfalls. It’s really nice up there and there are plenty of benches to sit on and admire the scenery. There are also signs that tell about the lake and the very delicate ecosystem there.
We spent a lot of time at the top enjoying the view and taking in the beauty of it. The water was a beautiful turquoise color from the travertine that lines the lake and it was so clear you could see fish in it all the way at the bottom. A duck had a nest on a log in the water and it was fun to watch her. There are also black swifts there that only nest in areas that are wet, such as behind waterfalls and natural hanging plants growing everywhere around the falls. We had our snack, drank a little water, took some pictures, and then started down.
I thought that going back down was going to be a lot easier, and it was in a way because gravity was helping us. Part way down, however, if I could have just laid there and died I might have considered doing just that! My knees were really, really sore and going down was a little slippery in spots. And did I mention that I’m a clutz? There were quite a few areas where I was holding on to rocks and sort of going down backwards to keep from falling. Anyway, Jack ended up carrying my backpack as well as his camera bags so I would have a little bit less of a load. I felt bad that he was doing that, but he insisted. Later, he said that he knew it was either carry the backpack or carry me and he thought that backpack was a better choice. 🙂 Good choice, Jack!
We finally made it down and all I wanted to do was get to the car. What a relief when we finally saw it! Sami was happy to see us and we sat outside with her for a few minutes, just enjoying being on a flat surface and knowing that we made it!