Classic USA – Taking the Classic to a new level
I had just got back home after a 1.300 km long drive from Fjällräven Classic in the northern Sweden, when a sudden opportunity just opened up. I was in the middle of the laundry pile when a ticket to the Fjällräven Classic USA appeared. Not only did this save me from the washing, it also gave me a chance for new adventures! A “no”, was just not on the map.
So, after a deep dive into the wardrobe I soon had my bag packed once again and the day after I left Sweden for my third Fjällräven Classic this year, the first outside of Scandinavia. The destination was the Rocky Mountains and the State Forest State Park.
All participants were taken to the start by busses from Denver and Boulder. In the starting area, I was getting excited and also a bit nervous. Trekking is what I do, but not being familiar with the surroundings, the nature and animals, made me think way too much. After spending just a short time in the starting area with the 120 other participants I realized, this is just what Fjällräven Classic is! It’s about trekking and it’s about learning from others and learning others. Looking around in the starting area I also found a few familiar faces from trekking in Sweden. Great start, I was ready for this!
Nearly at the first night camp
During the 3 days long trek, we were moving on quite high altitude, from 3ooo m, to about 3500 m. That was something many of the participants could feel straight away especially the ones travelling from sea level, with heavy breathing walking up the hills.
When we finally hit the trail, the sun was shining bright and I was all happy and overwhelmed by the beauty of the nature. I know that everything is big in America, but this, the mountains was just way bigger than I expected. It’s interesting that many of the plants and trees I could recognize from Sweden, although they did not exactly look like home. Again, it all seemed a bit bigger. The terrain is also different, because the trees don’t grow on this kind of altitude in Sweden. When I think about it, we don’t have any mountains at all reaching this altitude so every step was definitely a new path to discover.
About half way to the first night camp, we reached the second checkpoint and were served delicious soup. Just when we got there, the weather changes from sunshine one moment to heavy rain and hail the next. Wish I had a helmet!
The last part of the day was mainly upwards and now the good views were really opening up. Reaching the first night camp by Jewel Lake was the best treat of the day! Once again I was filled up with energy, but this time by the stunning view, clear air and happy trekkers.
I pitched my tent and made some dinner just before the sunset. By the time the sun hide behind the cliffs the temperature dropped quickly. From t-shirt to down jacket in just a few minutes. It’s always tricky to bring clothes for trekking when you have never experienced the climate before. This time I got it all right! During the days, I was trekking in tights and during the evenings when the cold hit the camps I just wore a down skirt over the tights and a down jacket on my upper body. So prefect!
Another new thing for me was the fact that all food I brought had to be enclosed in a bear tin during night time. I would absolutely love to see a bear, but just not in my tent so after a talk with some of the local participants I got all advice I needed to stay safe.
Waking up in the morning everything around us was covered in frost! The best part of the morning was when the first rays of the sun touched my face. You know that feeling!
Spending the morning just soaking up the view
This second day went from lake to lake. I spent the whole day telling myself, wow this is the most beautiful part, oh no this is! No wait, this is! Until I reached the top of the mountains looking down over Kelly Lake! If the strong wind had not been calling for my attention, I would have been standing there for ages just enjoying this stunning view! This place!
If the strong wind had not been calling for my attention, I would have been standing there for ages just enjoying this stunning view! This place! I spent the whole afternoon by the lake and by the time the sun was lowering to the edge of the rocks around, we decided to stay for the night, finding a perfect spot a little away from the lake to gain a little bit of warmth compared to the humid and chilly climate just by the lake.
Waking up to the silence, being hit by a ray of sun when opening the tent that was a good way to start the last day of trekking. Down by the lake, the water was mirroring the surrounding mountains convincing my once again that this is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Trekking the final part is sadly enough hard to appreciate that same way as when you are heading out on a new adventure but even so, this was a day to remember for other reasons. The sun was shining bright and the trekkers were all happy with their own accomplishments. The surprise of the day, was the pancakes and jam served along with lingonberry juice about halfway to the finish line. I love lingonberry and on this hot day, far away from home I still felt so much at home! Throughout this event, I have not felt anything else than welcome, happy and moved by the beauty of the nature. The best part about a journey, is to get inspired for more!
So thank you Fjällräven USA for making me want to explore more!