Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. –Psalm 36:5-9
Know any mothers who chose to celebrate Mother’s Day without their kids? This girl! Was there a little bit of guilt about this? Yes, but I’ve made my peace with it since then…
This year when Ryan asked what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, I told him I wanted to hike Hanging Lake with my Mom sans kids. And being the awesome husband he is, he was up for it. This was the most selfless, amazing gift I’ve received. It meant Ryan would take care of our kids all day on a Saturday because Hanging Lake was about three hours away which meant my mom and I would be gone for at least six hours plus hiking time. I tried to arrange for a babysitter to give Ryan a break for a few hours but all the sitters I contacted already had plans that Saturday. Luckily, Ryan’s dad and stepmom offered to take the kids for a few hours so Ryan got a break in his long day of childcare. To me, Ryan’s gift to me this Mother’s Day was lavish, abundant love. A gift that spoke right to my heart that he cared enough to give me a gift that he knew I would treasure.
So why Hanging Lake? Over the years I’ve lived in Colorado, Hanging Lake always comes up as an amazing place to visit. Its located outside of Glenwood Springs just off the scenic I-70 and is a serene and beautiful lake high up in the mountains. The main website labeled the hike as “strenuous” and the signs at the trailhead described it as “difficult” (most of the hike is at a decent incline, you climb up a lot of rock “steps”). Surprisingly, these descriptors did not deter me! I love to go for walks and hike but couldn’t say that I was in the best shape at this time. But I was going to hike to Hanging Lake, even if it kicked my butt! Even if I was red-faced and taking frequent breaks on the side of the trail, I was going to get up to that lake! (for those who are concerned about this hike being difficult, it really wasn’t that bad. I was definitely not the worst hiker on this trail and when I did need to stop for a break, there were plenty of spots to relax without impeding other hikers and it gave me more time to soak in the beauty all around me!)
Another challenge, we had also heard that parking at the trailhead was really difficult to get, especially on weekends and during the summer. There were only so many spots and because it was just off the interstate, you could not “creatively” park just off the lot if it was full. Websites recommended bringing a bike and biking in from other points near Glenwood Springs. So my mom and I decided we’d try to get there super early (meaning we’d leave around 5am or 6am from our place) AND we’d bring a bike in case we had to park elsewhere (one of us would drop the other off at the trailhead and wait for the other to bike in).
The morning of our hike, I slept through my alarm but we still made it out the door at a decent time. The drive towards Glenwood Springs was amazing. I hadn’t realized how little time my mom and I have had to talk with each other, uninterrupted. Usually there are two kids bouncing around near us which we love but it means we don’t always get to finish a sentence much less have a coherent conversation! Having time to talk and just “do life” with my mom was priceless. It made me feel so blessed all over again that she and my dad had taken the leap and moved out to Colorado. To me, this time with her was a very tangible picture not just of Ryan’s selfless gift to me but also of God’s abundant goodness and lavish generosity in giving me time in person with my wonderful Mom.
When we exited I-70 and pulled into the parking lot, we were speechless! The parking lot we expected to be full was 75% empty and even better, when we drove through it, the truck in the parking spot closest to the trailhead, backed out giving us the best possible parking spot ever! We just wanted a parking spot in the lot, to give us the best one there, icing on the cake! Someone was looking down and smiling! Could it get better than this? The fact that it was the day before Mother’s Day and the forecast called for rain could have played into this blessing but we’ll take it!!!
So could it get better than this? Definitely, and it did. See for yourself. A picture can speak a thousand words.
Beautiful trees, gorgeous rocks, and a bubbling mountain river that meandered alongside the trail the entire way up to Hanging Lake.
Inhaling fresh and crisp pine- scented mountain air while listening to rushing water as we ascended.
Here’s the lake itself and the waterfall that provides mountain water to it…
The trail wasn’t busy and when we did encounter other hikers, there was an easy camaraderie. In case you’re curious, it did start to rain as we ventured back down. But it was a light, misty rain. Even it was beautiful…