Rachel and Richard both met in school at Benedictine College and became fast friends, sharing a love for their Catholic faith. They dated for a few years and last year, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Richard asked Rachel to marry him. The wedding will be later this summer in Telluride.
Both love the outdoors and the mountains, and Brainard Lake was their first choice for their engagement photos. We had never been there before, but it was on our list of places to visit — and now we want to return to hike the back trails even more.
Going there requires planning ahead: First, for about half the year, part of the road leading to Brainard Lake is closed because of deep and heavy snowdrifts, so you usually have to wait until July for the road to open to get closer to the lake, or you have to snowshoe in during the winter months. This year, because of less than normal snowfall, the area opened in mid-June. It’s a popular area for tourists and the fast-growing population in Denver alike, and new this year, the U.S. Forest Service is requiring people to register for parking ahead of time during set time blocks. It’s best to avoid on weekends because it can get so busy, so we snagged a Tuesday evening.
We were not disappointed. Thankfully, we had Brainard Lake Recreation almost all to ourselves for engagement photos. Although it was muddy around the trails around the lake, we worked around that for a few hours and were eventually rewarded with a stunning sunset against the mountains in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.