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Alone in the Mountains

Today, Katie and I got married in the most "us" way that we could think of - at a secluded alpine lake. We hired Bailee from Alpine Vows as our wedding photographer to accompany us. Bailee specializes in Colorado hiking elopments so I didn't need to focus on photography on this hike allowing us to be more focused on each other. And my photos show that this wasn't about my photography - I took just a few photos, very quickly. I decided to bring my camera on the hike dispite us hiring a photographer for two reasons. First, this whole thing was about staying true to ourselves, and since taking photos on hikes is what I do, I wanted to take some photos to post so I can count this on my blog as a hike we've done. Secondly, my wedding ring has Longs and Meeker engraved in it. I plan to redesign the ring and have it remade with the ridgeline of the mountains where we got married at, which requires a very specific panorama. I certainly could have asked Bailee for that particular photo to be taken, and we completely trust her with all the photos, but the mountainscape I have engraved on my ring needs to be my artwork for it to mean what it does to me.

The morning started at 2 am when we woke up in a bed and breakfast in Georgetown, Colorado that we had arrived at the day before. As we were getting ready in the early morning hours, we had just a few things to get done: get dressed, do Katie's Hair, and do Katie's makeup. all of that took about an hour before we were out the door heading to the trailhead. The trailhead was a little under 30 minutes away through the winding roads of Gunealla Pass. Along the way, we encountered a young male moose licking the guide railing on the side of the road. This was our first moose sighting of the year and even more of a sign that we were ready to be married.

We started our hike at 3:45 where we meet up with our photographer and made it to Murray Lake in about an hour. The lake was a little over 2 miles with 1,000 feet of elevation which is a fast pace for us, especially since it was pitch black other than our headlamps. But we were excited and had our adrenaline pumping so we got there incredibly quick. We got to the lake well before sunrise which was the plan from the beginning so we could get the alpenglow on the mountains. While waiting for the sun to rise, I helped Katie into her dress and we waited for the sun to start peaking above the horizon.

The sunrise and alpenglow on the mountains were absolutely stunning. After spending about an hour taking portrait photos, Katie and I had our private ceremony around 7 am where we exchanged vows and rings before heading back down to the lower lake - Silver Dollar Lake. There, we had a cheese charcuterie picnic followed by signing the marriage certificate and then some more portrait photos. The hike ended around 10 am after 6 hours of a lot of excitement. We can't wait to see the professional photos and get them printed.

When deciding on a hike for our wedding, we had a few requirements that are listed below. All of these criteria were met and we have our photographer Bailee to thank - she did such a great job at finding this perfect hidden gem of a spot for us to get married.

Wedding Hike Criteria:

  • The hike needed to be to an alpine or sub-alpine lake. Katie and my favorite type of hike is to a lake. Summiting tall mountains is great, but doesn't have the same view that a lake has. Not only was this hike to an alpine lake but there were 3 lakes on this hike.
  • The ceremony needed to be private with a hike that didn't have many people on it. We had Murry Lake all to ourselves and didn't see a single person until an hour after we were married - this hike perfectly met this need.
  • It needed to be a true hike. Not something where we drove to a lake and took some photos. No one would know the difference in the photos if we did this, but adventuring is what we do, and you can't adventure without doing a little bit of work. Katie and I have always defined a true hike to be at least 1,000 feet in elevation gain, but we didn't want it to be a torturously long hike that resulted in us being drained of energy at the summit. This hike came in at just over 2 miles to the summit and about 1,200 feet of elevation gain making it an easy, but true hike.
  • Wildflowers - we chose a late July wedding date specifically for the wildflowers, which this hike was packed with. So many different varieties. It was magical as the sun came up and we could see just how many there were.

Trailhead Location
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6.21 mi 6.1 hrs 12,050 ft 1,224 ft
View Graph
The Ceremony Location
Wedding Coordinates
My Bride
Pre-Marriage Selfie
Silver Dollar Lake
Looking Back