Erin and John | Dream Lake Engagement
Savannah Chandler Photography | Colorado Engagement Photographer
Erin and John’s Dream Lake Engagement | Winter Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park
Erin and John are heading to her mom’s home country of Northern Ireland for their 2023 wedding – so they decided to take winter photographs here in Colorado for their engagement.
We hiked up to Dream Lake – which is 2.2 miles roundtrip and typically tracked out all winter long (with the exception of a recent storm or extreme weather). The trail is very well marked, and all winter it’s very likely all that is needed for traction is spikes (in all the bajillion times I’ve been there during the winter months, there’s only been one instance where snowshoes would have proven to be useful).
In my (not so) humble opinion, I think that Sunrise is where it’s at when it comes to portraits at Dream Lake. The sun hits the opposite horizon and lights up Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak in stunning reds and pinks. Winter lighting is very mild regardless of the time of day due to the sun staying closer to the horizon line – meaning mid-day portraits are also very doable and likely to be significantly warmer.
Winter mornings are very likely to include wind. Lots and lots of wind. This was definitely the case the day that Erin, John, and I hiked up to Dream for their portraits. Luckily, they came prepared with blankets and puffy coats. That being said – we hung out at the lake for a limited amount of time and then decided to seek lower ground. It’s been my experience that once you dip down below the final ascent up to Dream, the winds die down and the temperatures increase drastically.
After some time overlooking the ever stunning Longs Peak, we found a lovely little glissading shoot to slide down on our butts. Glissading is SO MUCH FUN – especially in instances like this where the risk factor is basically nonexistent. If you’re looking to glissade on large hills or steep grades – definitely make sure to be properly trained and have an ice axe for self arresting (we made a day out of creating a shoot and continually practicing self arresting).
We made one final stop in the Moraine Valley to get some sunny portraits before we all headed our separate ways in search of coffee or other hot drinks.
Congratulations again, and have an absolutely AMAZING wedding in Belfast!