national parks, photography, travel


I have this group of guy friends who every year around the same time, head up to Estes Park, CO for a backpacking trip. I have been lucky enough to be included on it the last two years.

We had a permit to do a few nights backpacking the northern end of Rocky Mountain National Park, but because of fires, much of the park shut down. The parks service rerouted us to an off trail section in the south of the park.

It was a beautiful, easy hike in. And because of this, the glamper contingent of our group decided to blow it out for us and bring copious amounts of gourmet food.

The first night, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and Perini steaks, as well as manchego cheese and other charcuterie. It was pretty epic.

With full bellies, the next day we day-hiked up to a lake surrounded by a cirque at 12k feet for some adventure and an afternoon of fly fishing.

I am not much of an angler, but the gents slayed like there was no tomorrow.

That night, the glampers made us a hearty soba noodle dinner with homemade popcorn for desert. We figured it was all over, but when we awoke the next morning, they outdid themselves with a portable hand-pump espresso machine and pancakes. Lattes and hotcakes for all.

That was enough to fuel us for the hike out. Now, I am used to going minimal when it comes to backpacking, so all of this was a bit unusual for me, but I must say, aside from actually gaining weight on a backpacking trip, I enjoyed the spoils of glampacking.

Our last day, after having come out of the wilderness, showered, devoured a lovely steak dinner with the family, and stayed a night in the cozy cabin, we hiked into the park again for another full day of recreation.

The group fished while I meandered the moraine valley in search of images, wildlife and other.

The elk were in full rut, and posing beautifully for me.

They even had a few curve balls to throw my way. Lol.

Overall, it was a supremely relaxing day watching the light move across the valley with a seeming lack of any urgency. The fishing was tough, but the time was easy.

It is a wonderful group of friends that continually challenge my thinking and priorities. They are the good men, that do still exist out there, who enjoy some of the finer masculine activities. And not afraid to enjoy a few of the feminine… thinking of you, lattes.

— Andrew

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