Raechel and Josh’s 14er hiking elopement is a day that I don’t think will ever stop filling up my heart with gratitude for what I get to call my “job”. As a Colorado adventure wedding photographer, nothing gets me more pumped than waking up at 1:00 am on a warm June day to start the 4.5 mile trek to the top of Mt. Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado, where Raechel and Josh would say their vows.
These two met and were meant for a great adventure. Raechel and Josh’s first date together was hiking up another famous Colorado 14er duo, Grays and Torreys. Soon after they started dating, Josh whisked Raechel away on an adventurous road trip to Utah where they hiked 20+ miles through the canyons. With that said, there was no doubt in Raechel’s mind that she wanted to say their I do’s mountain top and go on a hiking elopement adventure. With Raechel’s best friend and hiking partner, Jess, and Josh’s three kids, we set out for a day of hiking we all will never forget.
As our headlamps flashed through the dark forest as we started the journey up, we took much needed breaks, turned off all our lights and would just stare up at the mountain sky full of a billion specs of stars. As we hiked out of tree-line, the almost full moon was bright enough that we could turn off our headlamps and follow the trail in the silver moon light. Shortly after, dawn started to pour across the horizon. Every single one of us paused to take in soft glow of the sun before it crested the earth – and as the sun came over the horizon, we looked out across the Rocky Mountains at about 13,000 ft.
I love Raechel’s explanation for conquering a Colorado14er: she said, “during every 14er there’s a point where you question all the decisions you’ve made and don’t want to keep moving forward.” But you have to keep moving forward because the reward at the top is worth so much more than your cramping legs (let’s be honest, my cramping butt muscles), gasping for oxygen, and your desperate need for laying down and letting go. We were all challenged that day, but the friendships that were born on the side of that mountain will never be lost. When someone was tired and hitting their turn-back point, someone else would step in for encouragement. That day I went up the hill with Raechel and Josh as their photographer, but definitely came down their friend.
And to witness these two say their sweet vows at the summit of Mt. Elbert with views of Mt. Massive and La Plata Peak in the background was a moment that will never leave me. Because on a mountain top, love is so real and present. You can’t hide who you are on the inside and run away from fear. On a mountain top you feel the freedom to be yourself because you earned that view at the top. I hope to experience a whole lot more love on mountain tops in my lifetime because Raechel and Josh’s wedding day was epic.
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Meet Larissa. Larissa is an adventure wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado. She’d take and adventure in the mountains over shopping any day and prefers and date night snuggling on the couch over dinner and a movie. Larissa’s obsessed with: morning snuggles with her rescue pup, Hazel, hot chocolate, a good book and yoga pants. She believes in making you forget a camera’s even there, that your story is the actual thing she wants to capture on camera and that real, raw moments are more important than perfectly curated poses. Book your Colorado adventure elopement photographer today!