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.