IN THE GAZEBO, I hear echos of nervous laughter. Our first session of yoga at the Women’s Yoga + Hiking retreat will begin in a few moments … except, we’re experiencing some technical difficulty getting a small speaker to play ambient music.
Our instructor, Beth, quickly adjusts our perspective: Who needs background music in this place anyway? With birds chattering, leaves blowing in the wind, and the overwhelming hush of silence. I can’t think of better sounds (or the absence of sounds!) to help clear one’s mind during yoga.
We begin, and I can feel the collective nerves of first-time visitors and new friends relax and slowly unwind.
Eight women joined me, Gretchen, at the Wolf Den for three days of yoga and hiking during what turned out to be the “peak” aspen weekend in September. It was phenomenal — the foliage, the group of women, and the fitness experience shared among friends!
Below, I’m sharing more about the weekend. Plus, don’t miss your chance to attend the 2019 retreats — that’s right, we’re hosting TWO! More info at the bottom of this page!
Everyone in the group, including myself, traveled from Texas for the weekend — most by plane, and one by car! We convened at the Wolf Den Thursday evening for a welcome dinner, and woke on Friday ready to take on Day 1 of the retreat.
Instructor Beth Holland helped guide the group through our first outdoor practice in the gazebo. Everyone stepped onto her mat with varying yoga backgrounds — some with lots of practice, and others completely new to the movement. Beth’s leadership reflects her personality: approachable and positive. It was easy to fall into sync with her.
After our practice, we found a spot and, with Beth’s guidance, shut down our minds for meditation. Beth encouraged introspective thinking using topics from the book The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, and we all took some time for journaling after our meditation.
Lunch called us back to the Den, where we grabbed a sandwich and sipped mimosas. And we certainly did not miss the opportunity for photo ops! The mountains were really showing off.
That afternoon, we left the Den to explore Twin Lakes and my favorite trail, the Interlaken! This 4 mile out-and-back trail meanders along the edge of Twin Lakes with expansive views of the lake, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. It was a great way for us to wake up the legs for our trek on Day Two.
After our hike, a couple gals enjoyed hour-long massages, courtesy Erin Connor of The Massage Connection based in Frisco, Texas. (If you’re in the area, go visit her. NOW. Your muscles will thank you.) The group spent hours chatting and sipping wine at the dinner table before retreating to bed for well-earned rest.
On the second morning, we all rolled out of bed, scarfed some breakfast and headed to the Lost Man Pass trailhead by 9 a.m. I could tell that the group was a little nervous about this hike … I mean, if you live in Texas at 600 ft. elevation, it’s hard to know how your body will respond when hiking from about 11,000 to 12,400 ft!
The hike up the pass and back is about 6 miles and it took us several hours. We enjoyed a picnic lunch with a birds-eye view of Lost Man Lake below. Afternoon sunshine lit up the valley — these views were spectacular! I’m so proud of these ladies for toughing it out! For many of them, this was their first big hike and damn! They did great! Beth, our yoga leader, hiked for two (she just welcomed baby boy No. 3!) and made it look easy.
Back at the Den, we grabbed a post-hike beverage of choice (read: beer/wine!) and circled up in the gazebo for a hip-stretch session with Beth. What a way to end the afternoon! I don’t often stretch after a long hike, but it made a tremendous difference in my recovery.
While a few more ladies enjoyed their massage time with Erin, I got the fire pit going on the back porch. We snacked on s’mores before dinner, laughing about how this was the ultimate act of defiance for a group of moms! One of the most memorable things of the weekend (for me) was watching the moon set behind the mountain, along with Jupiter and Venus. Amazing!
Maybe it was the hiking, or perhaps it was the late-night vino and Beautycounter-masking session? Regardless, we were all moving a little slower on Day 3.
After tea and coffee, we gathered for one last yoga session before departing the Wolf Den. Beth led us through a wonderful practice that slowly worked through our muscle soreness. We then took some time to journal and reflect on our time together at the retreat before heading back to the house for packing. Several ladies (with later departure flights home) enjoyed one last massage with Erin. Ahhh!
Our paths now going separate ways, we said our goodbyes and thanked the mountains for a wonderful weekend. It was an honor to host these women at the Wolf Den during our first-ever yoga retreat!
More yoga, of course!