Fueled by a Coconut Cookie

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Tackling the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop

Four mountain passes, three women, and nearly infinite Packaroons! This is the story of our trek through the Maroon Bells Wilderness. Who was there? Heather Kelly, founder of Heather’s Choice. Kayleen Cohen, Heather’s marketing coordinator, and ME, Heather’s Choice ambassador, athlete, and artist, Kelli Spencer! Over the past year and a half, Kayleen and I have exchanged countless emails. We began corresponding about the idea of a girls backpacking trip. We invited Heather, plans were detailed, and the trip was a go.

We all met up in Carbondale, CO to backpack the Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells in 3 days. Between the three of us, we had enough Packaroons to feed an army, some new meals to test, and favorite snacks to share.

We set out the next morning and passed through gorgeous lakes, vast valleys of wildflowers in full bloom, creeks trickling through the trees, and huge forests. At the top of our first pass, we were greeted with panoramic views, friendly and curious mountain goats, and hungry hikers coming from the other direction.

Four Pass Loop

We unpacked the packaroons and shared the love with all, sharing stories of the trail, stories of our personal endeavors and became friends with strangers over a simple coconut cookie.

We descended late into the afternoon to Snowmass Lake. As we set up camp, I swear I just kept eating and snacking on Packaroons. And, to top off the day, we took a chill dip in the lake.

Snowmass Lake

Day two greeted us bright and early as we shared some Apple Pie Breakfast. We started our trek up over the lake to the next two passes. Today was our biggest day. It was just as beautiful as the day before. We passed fields of columbines in full bloom, towering aspens swaying in the breeze; elephant head flowers so bright pink they seemed unreal. Each time we passed a group going the other direction, we unpacked our packs and shared the coconut cookie love. Up over passes looking down into meadows blanketed with an assortment of wildflowers and dotted with small alpine lakes. Down into valleys braided with streams and rivers. It was a gorgeous day of hiking, growing closer as women, and enjoying nature.

The evening brought on knee pain for me and dehydration for all of us. We made it to our camp, a dried up lake that had created a flat place for our tents. No sooner had we set up the tents had we all passed out from exhaustion. (It’s not always glamorous).

Maroon Bells

With my knee pain, I was worried about the following day. With the encouragement from the ladies, I woke up early and started out before them to get a head start…snacking on packaroons and humming along to different tunes passing through my mind. Heather and Kayleen quickly caught up with me and helped me out the rest of the way. (Future note…I ended up getting knee surgery on my knee! I am so thankful to have the support of these ladies by my side as I hiked out). Even with the knee pain, the day was as beautiful as ever. Panoramic views of the backside of South Maroon Peak were astonishing. It towered over all of us, a solid rock jutting out of the landscape. It was priceless. We wove our way gradually down and out of the valley to where we originally began.

Hiking the Four Pass Loop

I’ve never been so fulfilled by the company of rad, inspiring, badass women like Heather and Kayleen. Women who are kind, encouraging, and funny. Women who have both chased and realized their dreams, women who persevere through hard times, and who always smile and laugh through everything. I have never been so full of my favorite snack…the Blueberry Packaroons.

Blueberry Packaroons

Pack Details:

Pack: Custom Z-Pack (18oz)

Sleeping Bag: Custom Z-Pack (16oz)

Tent: UL2 Big Agnes

Ground Pad: ½ Size Sea to Summit

Water: 3L Camelback

Food: 3 Heathers Choice Dinners, 4 Heathers Choice Breakfasts, 12 Packaroons Packages, 3 Snickers Bars, Homemade Banana Chips by Kayleen, Assorted Nuts, Tea, Emergence Drink Packs, 1 Apple.

Clothes: 1 Tank Top, 1 T-Shirt, 1 Patagonia Puffy, 1 Shorts, 1 Leggings, 1 Rain Coat, 1 Hat, 2 Underwear’s, 3 Socks.

Additional: Black Diamond Head Lamp, Toiletries, 1 Waterproof Card Deck, Ear Buds, Ear Plugs, 1 Solar Camp Lantern, and 1 First Aid Kit.

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