Summiting at the Ice Lakes


By CaseyMae Roberts (Colorado)

My alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. I got dressed, packed my bag, and grabbed some breakfast. We loaded up into the vans and left by 3:00 a.m. for our hike up to the beautiful Ice Lakes. Our van was loud and excited at first but gradually quieted down as people drifted back into sleep. I woke up when we pulled up to the trailhead – it was 6:00 a.m. by this point. It was still dark, but the sky was lightening up with the coming dawn, and we could see the massive mountain we were about to ascend. At about 6:30 a.m. we set out up the mountain.

The Ascent

We weren’t even 15 minutes in when the line came to a halt – it was time for everyone to shed some layers. Not long after that, I was at the front with Lauren, one of our Semester mentors, and we had put some distance between ourselves and everyone else because we didn’t stop for any breaks. At some point, before we hit timberline, Eli caught up to us and the three of us stuck together until we made it to the first lake.

The Lake

Not only was the lake itself a surreal blue, but it reflected all the colors of the peaks surrounding it. It was absolutely stunning. We stopped long enough to take it in, as well as to catch our breath, and consequently the chills. Another group joined us for a few minutes before we all left for the second lake. It was maybe another 20 minutes up and well worth the extra time climbing. This upper lake wasn’t blue like the first, but teal, and there was an island in the middle of it. It reflected the beautiful surrounding peaks as well and was equally as stunning as the first.

After we had some food and wandered around the lake, Lauren, Hannah, and I decided we wanted to summit one of the peaks. So we just started mountain-goating it straight up the side of the mountain. We had to take a lot of breaks and there were a few conversations about whether we should stop or keep going – but we made it to our 360-degree panoramic view. And oh boy.

My dad taught me to stop and appreciate the beauty in nature at a young age. As I’ve gotten older, more and more God takes my breath away with the beauty and wonder of his creation. I love that we take Mondays here at Semester to do just this, to take in the beauty of creation, and marvel at it. This 7-hour, 12-mile roundtrip hike, with about 3000 feet of elevation gain is by far the most beautiful, crazy, awesome hike I’ve ever been blessed to enjoy.