I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains of Colorado or Virginia, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!



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July 14, 2023

A Weekend in Estes Park, Colorado

A Weekend in Estes Park, Colorado

After blogging about the sessions I photographed at Rocky Mountain National Park, I want to share a personal post from our spring experience there! πŸ™‚ Alex and I stayed for the first time last summer while my parents were in town. We saw moose, elk, and more! During the summertime, the wildflowers turn the mountains into different colors (purple, green, blue, and yellow). It’s a sight to see!!! This time, we visited Estes Park, Colorado for a weekend during springtime, which isn’t the spring season you’d imagine. πŸ˜‰

We drove through a snowstorm from Colorado Springs (thank goodness for the proper tires) on a Saturday morning. Honestly, spring snow in Colorado is very normal; but when I was planning for James and Claire’s portraits that weekend, we were hoping for sunny conditions. HA! I texted them on our way asking if they wanted to postpone, but I was surprised that they were willing to photograph in the snow! So we went for it. πŸ™‚ As we made our way up through the mountains, the snow got deeper and deeper. Fortunately, we came prepared with snow attire, rechargeable hand warmers, and crampon spikes! With Jack in the hiking backpack, Alex took charge to entertain him while I photographed wedding portraits in the snowstorm at Dream Lake. πŸ™‚

After the session, we went back to our hotel at Murphy’s River Lodge to warm up and enjoyed a yummy dinner at a little town restaurant, Hunters Chophouse. But I knew that I needed to hike Dream Lake again on a clear day! So with a full day ahead, we planned to have a family adventure before heading home!

Dream Lake Hike Take Two

On Sunday, we woke up at sunrise and drove around parts we hadn’t seen of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was beautiful, especially with remnants of snow on the ground from the day before.

After I finished photographing a morning session in Estes Park, I met up with Alex and Jack for breakfast, and we loaded up our car for a hiking adventure! We finally made it to theΒ Dream Lake trailheadΒ (after a wasted hour going back to the hotel to drop off the forgotten keys), and it was so much easier hiking on a clear day compared to hiking during a snowstorm! It still required crampons, and I’m SO glad we had them because the few we passed by in snow boots were struggling! The steep sections would’ve been slippery without spikes!

We loved hiking to Dream Lake this season because the ice was so thick on the lake that you could walk across the lake!

**Disclaimer, do not cross an iced lake unless safe to do so. Some lakes here in Colorado have snow-covered ice fishing holes that might not be easy to see to the eye. We stayed on a heavily walked-over trail on the frozen lake.

We ended up continuing our hike even further to Emerald Lake! Many skiers hiked up the mountains past Emerald Lake on unmarked trails to ski down expert-level terrain. We enjoyed watching the skiers while Jack slept in the hiking carrier. Clearly, he had the best seat. πŸ˜‰

Before heading back home, we enjoyed a quick stop to check out Sprague Lake (gorgeous) and a bite at Boss Burgers and Gyros (so good!)! This won’t be our last weekend trip to Estes Park, Colorado. In the future, I’ll put together a master itinerary of things to do/hike/see/eat in the area! πŸ™‚