There’s a part of us that comes alive whenever we step foot into the backcountry. And whenever we can explore with friends out there, it’s even better. That’s why we joined up with the crew at Fjallraven to enjoy one last summer backpacking adventure. The Fjallraven Classic is an event that takes place yearly around the globe. From Sweden and Denmark to Hong Kong and now the US, each year Fjallraven puts on an organized, multiday backpacking trip for their fans and friends. Because we rarely turn down an opportunity to get outside and camp, we jumped at the chance to head into the backcountry.
This summer was the inaugural trip in the US, located up in the Never Summer range of Colorado’s northwest Rocky Mountains. The trip drew seasoned backpackers and newbies alike from all over the country. There were even Europeans in the mix, creating a diverse group of people stoked to get out and try something new. We covered 20 miles in 3 days, with plenty of elevation gain. The first day alone, the trail climbed 4,000 feet. That’s when we knew this was going to be a whole lot of fun.
Day one took us on the North Canadian Trail, where we began the first part of the 20-mile loop. We trekked by the Ruby Jewel Yurt, to the Ruby Jewel Trail, and on to Jewel Lake, where we camped for the night. It was a solid start to the trip that included grueling ascents, epic views and even some hail. After all, it is summer in the Rockies and you never know what the weather has in store. Thankfully a well-timed aid station had hot soup, ready to warm us up.
Day two started out on the Hidden Valley Trail, with a check-in at Kelly Lake. True to the area’s name, there was still snow on some of the north facing slopes and in the deeper reliefs of some bigger peaks. Naturally, we had to take the opportunity to get the first turns of the season (or last turns of last season) by sliding down the snow patch in our boots. From there, we hiked on the Kelly Lake Trail to our second night’s camping zone. A pristine (and freezing, as it turned out) alpine lake proved the perfect place to shock our tired muscles awake again.
Sunday was our last day on the trail. We hiked out of camp, taking a quick pit stop for some pancakes about halfway through the day. That’s what’s great about this type of trip: Having pancakes waiting along the trail is definitely a perk of hiking with the Fjallraven crew. Before we reached the finish line barbeque, the loop took us through alpine terrain, in and out of the tree line. Because we were so high, the days were in the mid 70’s, but the nights got down to the mid 20’s. We’re used to these types of temperature swings, living in the mountains, but packing for them is always hard. So what got us through? We wore the same NTS Micro 150 T during each day and at night layered up with our heavier weight Mid 250 hoody. On our feet we only needed one pair of PhD® Outdoor Ultra Light socks and were stoked to see that almost everyone else was rocking Smartwool® socks, too.
With summer winding down, this was a great outing and an even better excuse to explore a zone of Colorado that is only 90 minutes away from home. It was also a great way to meet new, like-minded outdoor lovers that just wanted to get out, explore, and eat our weight’s worth in Swedish fish.