I’m a list person. I like my lists and I have them for everything. You can find them all over the house, on random sheets of paper, on the back of the kids drawings, no piece of paper is safe. I have to make these lists because I’ll forget a thought or that little task I need to do, the item that wasn’t put on the grocery lists doesn’t get purchased because I just didn’t remember because it wasn’t on the list.
Well, I also have lists for places to travel, things to do, restaurants, hikes, waterfalls, everything. I see a place that I think may be somewhere we want to go, I write it down. I see a hike, a lake, a waterfall that I think we should do, I write it down. The lists are long but it feels so good when I can check something off becaue that means we actually did it, we made it happen and we will have that memory with us forever. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to check things off your lists as long as you are checking them off because that means you are doing it.
So, all that to say, McCullough Gulch has been on my hiking list for awhile. It’s one of the most popular hikes in the Breckenridge area and the views are said to be amazing. I really wanted to do this hike with the kids but I knew we had to get some longer hikes under our belts before we attempted it. It’s rated as moderate which we have done before but reviews I read mentioned rocky terrain, steady incline, and make sure you’re adjusted to the altitude, so I didn’t want to do a hike we weren’t ready for and then everyone is miserable.
I’m glad we waited and I’m so glad we did this hike. There were alot of people on this trail and I can understand why now that we have done it, it’s beautiful. And challenging. And more than worth it.
We started out around 1 pm. This gave me a little bit of anxiety even though I tried not to let it show. I knew rain was coming and I didn’t want it to come while we were on our hike because I wanted to finish it. This actually turned out to be great timing though because there were alot of people leaving that had finished their hike and not that many people just starting.
It didn’t take long for us to realize that we were going to be in for some amazing views. And that Olivia was already tired. McCullough Gulch is 2.9 miles out and back but where you park before the trailhead can add on a lot more. We added on about a mile roundtrip so by the time we got to the steady incline part of the hike her legs were tired. I wore her for a little bit but then Graham took over and let me tell you this little girl was so happy to be on her Daddy’s back.
Grayson and I got some more one on one time this hike and he was all about finding the way that was the most difficult. He wanted to climb some rocks.
I am so proud of this kid. I found myself short of breath and my legs burning more than I care to admit but he didn’t complain once about any of those things. He didn’t say he was tired until we were halfway down the mountain on our way back to the car. He kept pushing forward, even after he took a nasty fall, and finished this hike strong. He was excited about the difficult parts of the hike where he got to navigate through rocks and when given the choice to stop at the waterfalls or go up on the most difficult part to the lake, he chose to go to the lake. I truly believe our kids grow up a little bit every time we are out on a trail and this hike was a perfect example. Perserverance and a positive attitude go a long way.
The hike to the lake is very rocky and definitely more difficult. We passed several people on the way up and they all would tell us just a few minutes longer but that it is worth it.
And it is. It’s worth it. I’ve always wanted to hike to an alpine lake with the kids and we did it. It was so quiet up there. It was one of those places that I will recall when I need a moment of peace and calm.
It was cold around the lake and we could see storm clouds rolling in. We still needed to eat lunch so we started to head down and then we saw mountain goats.
We were all in awe. They’re goats, I know, but we have never been this close to them. Olivia hiked about halfway down and did great but got tired again so back up on my back she went.
We were all exhausted by the time we finished this hike but it was such a good exhaustion. An alpine lake, waterfalls, mountain goats, marmots and moments that we won’t ever forget. Our best hike in the mountains yet.
“Wherever we go in the mountains, we find more than we seek.” – John Muir