Mary + Nick’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Elopement
The first time I met Mary, we were hiking 12 miles through a foot of fresh snow across Boulder’s three tallest summits – and she was wearing a full body unicorn costume! So when she got engaged to Nick, and the time came to plan their elopement, I immediately had a hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness in mind for them.
Mary and Nick knew they wanted to bring their two dogs, and Mary’s best friend Sarah came along to help carry an extra backpack. The bride herself had her hands full already, carrying the skirt of her fluffy Wtoo by Watters wedding gown and her snowshoes! Mary said afterwards she felt like she got more of an arm workout than ever on this hike.
We met up at the parking lot of Brainard Lake, where Mary and Nick did a first look in the trees. Then we geared up, and headed out on the 6+ mile roundtrip hike to their Indian Peaks Wilderness elopement. Now this was on June 26th, which means it was sunny and snow-free at lower altitudes like in Boulder. But at 10,000ft of elevation, there were still huge patches of snow.
Our advance research showed there would be snow the whole way, so we all brought snowshoes, but we never even put them on. The snow was deep enough to posthole in to our knees in sections, but then there would be patches of completely bare ground in between. So we could have saved ourselves the extra weight, but where’s the adventure in that?
Hiking in the afternoon is always a bit risky in Colorado. As we got closer to our final destination, we started hearing thunder in the distance. And as often happens at high altitude, the storm kept rolling in closer and closer. When we got to the alpine lake where we had planned on doing their ceremony and photos, we quickly got to it.
As Mary and Nick exchanged their vows, rain started drizzling around us. And by the time they were married and we had done some more photos, it was fully hailing on us! Yep, at the end of June. We packed up our backpacks again, including the snacks and champagne we had planned on enjoying at the lake, and started hiking back down again. Somewhere along the trail, Mary’s bouquet from Fawns Leap fell out of her backpack. A week later, she found a photo of it on Instagram from someone who had found it in the snow!
A lot of couples freak out about having bad weather on their elopement day. (I have some tips here for how to handle it!) But the heavier it hailed around us, the more we were all laughing and joking. If you haven’t heard the term “type 2 fun” before, this is it: kinda miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect, and a story you’ll never forget.
Even with all the snow, rain, hail, and thunder, I could not have had a better time at Mary and Nick’s Indian Peaks Wilderness elopement, and I’m pretty sure they’d both agree with me!