THE FJÄLLRÄVEN CLASSIC USA


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By Ashley Barlow

The First Annual Fjällräven Classic has officially made its way to the US and I am beyond thankful to have been invited out to be a part of this incredible event! Three glorious days and two nights under the glistening stars backpacking through the remote wilderness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Over 100 people from all over the US came out to this event and trekked 20+ miles in the back country of the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the 71,000 acres of State Forest State Park. This was my first time ever visiting Colorado and I had quite the epic adventure that will last me a lifetime!

The original Fjällräven Classic takes place in Sweden and features a 110km trek through the gorgeous mountains of the Swedish Lapland with over 2000 people in attendance from around 30 different countries! The event has become so successful that it was time for the Fjällräven Classic to finally make its way to the US. The opportunity to spend quality time in nature with fellow outdoor enthusiasts was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

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Pictured above is a map of our hike. We started at around 9,000 feet in elevation and went up around 12,000 feet. Living at sea level, I was a little worried about getting elevation sickness so I made sure to hydrate that week.

I took a direct flight from DC to Denver Thursday night and stayed in an Airbnb. One of the meet up locations was at a light rail station in Denver on Friday morning. I caught the bus at around 6 am and then we were off to start our adventure. Due to bathroom breaks and roadwork, the bus ride took significantly longer than everyone expected and we finally arrived at the trail head around 5 hours later. The drive did not seem as long to me as I was kept busy gazing outside in awe of the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains and enjoying the scenic, twisty mountain roads. When we arrived we were welcomed with friendly, smiling faces and spoiled with Fjällräven goodies at the check in. There was even a local chef who made us breakfast! (which I so desperately needed).

After stuffing and repacking my bag a few times, I was invited to start with the first group at noon. I did not know anyone prior to this trip. Just the week before I was browsing through the FjällrävenUSA instagram and there was a post asking who was attending the classic. I noticed another adventurous girl like myself who commented saying she was going and I reached out to her. It was nice being able to connect with another female blogger like myself and I couldn’t believe how much we had in common! You can find more about her here at BeachBodAbroad.com

I met up with her at the starting line and after the official gun shot start we were off.

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The beginning of our journey started out on an easy dirt road. The starting times were staggered to help space people out.

Funny story, a few of us ended up going a few miles down the wrong path! Thankfully someone came by and picked us up in a truck to take us back in the right direction. It was quite the start of our adventure!

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Our first stream crossing had us trek over this nifty little bridge and gave us the opportunity to try out our GRAYL filtered water bottles.

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As we continued to gain in elevation the sun started to fade and the cool mountain air and clouds started to seep in. There were many times I had to stop to put on and take off my jacket. The weather in the Rockies kept constantly fluctuating and I experienced everything from sun, rain, and hail all within just a few hours!

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The nice blue skies we had at the start had long since vanished. We brought our rain coats out and put our pack covers on to protect our gear from the rain.

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The crisp forest just after some rain.

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As we started nearing the top to our first campsite, I stopped for a moment to admire the endless beauty of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Where I am from in Virginia, the mountains are no where near as high as the Rockies so I made sure to enjoy every last second of it!

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Our first camp site was located at the base of Ruby Jewel Lake. The field was vast and had plenty of space to pitch our tents.

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I enjoyed walking around and exploring the area.

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I could not believe how close we were to the clouds as they were floating down into the valley. This was probably the highest I have ever been at this elevation and the views took my breathe away.

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It was very chilly out and I decided to head back to set up my tent.

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Just before sunset.

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The sun making its way behind the mountain near my campsite.

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The next morning we arose to clear blue skies.

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Day 2 made for an absolutely beautiful day for hiking! Thanks for the photo BeachBod Abroad!

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Trekking through the back country with BeachBod Abroad!

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One of our checkpoint locations before arriving to our next camping spot. Trust me when I say Fjällräven beyond spoiled us at these check points! Fjällräven had everything from Swedish fish, jerky, trail mix, hot potato soup, pancakes, cliff bars, beer, whiskey shots and even Lingonberry Juice! I was very well fed on this trip and was amazed with how well Fjällräven pampered us! Nothing like being spoiled while hiking!

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I took a little break here to fill up my GRAYL bottle for some refreshing mountain water.

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We had a bit of a trek up, but the views did not disappoint.

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After a few miles of uphill trekking we finally made it to the top!

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Adventures with Ashley and BeachBod Abroad! Special thanks to this girl for all the blogging insight and dreams to inspire women!

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Kelly Lake!

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All smiles at the top! Good times with good people! =]

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The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking! I felt as if I was on top of the world and it felt even better knowing that I had arrived with my own two feet. There was even a big patch of snow!

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At the base of Kelly Lake.
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We even had a few fly fishers in the group.

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My first time ever eating trout! Mhmm .. It was delicious!

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Admiring the views at Kelly Lake.

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I had the pleasure of meeting some amazing photographers along the way. I felt honored to have been surrounded by like-minded people and it really reassured me that I was on the right path of following my dreams.

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The gorgeous Alpenglow at Kelly Lake.

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Alpenglow as seen through my GoPro.

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It was a perfect night for long exposure photography. Not only did I get to see the Milky Way, but I even saw a shooting star!

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Keeping warm by the campfire.

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Enjoying mountain house meals. I couldn’t believe how delicious freeze dried meals could be! Biscuits and gravy for breakfast sure did hit the spot!

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Soaking up the sunrise over the Rockies.

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Our third and final day as we started to descend in elevation.

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Photo credit: JJYosh.com

Nothing like getting lost in nature in the magical Aspen Grove forest!

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Our last day was a fairly easy 8 mile downhill hike and yet another gorgeous day for hiking.

When I arrived at the finish I received a finishers patch and medal. Local Chef Kyle prepared a heavenly feast for us to include trout, pork, beef, veggies and even peach cobbler for dessert! I was too busy stuffing my face to take a picture, I do apologize! We were treated with ice cold beer and wine along with live music and good people. The finishers party was a nice treat and made for the perfect cherry on top of our adventurous weekend. I did not want this moment to end and was absolutely dreading being back at the office that Tuesday morning.

Another epic adventure in the books. Thank you Fjällräven for the wonderful opportunity and experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait to see what next year’s event has in store for us!

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Until next time Colorado!

Ashley Barlow currently lives in Northern Virginia, just outside of D.C.  Ashley is a regional outdoor enthusiast and creator of the “Adventures with Ashley” social media presence. Ashley is a distance runner, obstacle course racer, trail runner, hiker, cyclist, triathlete, waterfall chasing, nature lovin’ Virginia girl with a severe case of wanderlust.  As a long-distance runner, her passion for running helped spur her to see new places and discover how much she enjoyed nature and photography. Her treks across Virginia led her to discover that she really wanted to see everything our world has to offer. From the rainforest trails of Costa Rica, to the glaciers and waterfalls of Iceland, this adventure-seeking woman aspires to empower women to live a healthy life and to be your most confident self, chasing passions (and waterfalls) along the way!

27 thoughts on “THE FJÄLLRÄVEN CLASSIC USA

  • May 31, 2019 at 5:29 am
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    It’s been a while since my last hiking with friends..since becoming a mom,my main priority now are my boys..but it would be awesome to experience this again..warm sunshine and fresh air are to look forward to.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 9:47 am
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    My goodness, this looks like an amazing trip, so much to see and treks are so much fun to do. Will have to take part one day.

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  • May 21, 2019 at 10:15 pm
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    What awesome hiking experience I love the camping night photos they are really cool and beautiful, I will really love to go hiking someday it would be fun.

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  • May 21, 2019 at 8:53 am
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    I am loving all your piccys. Love the great outdoors. Looks like you had a fab adventure for sure xx

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  • May 20, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    What a lovely trip. I have never gone hiking before. I can imagine all the fun and adventures.

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  • May 20, 2019 at 6:02 pm
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    The views confirm that you did have an epic trip. Rocky Mountains are lovely. I liked how you explained the nitty-gritties of the journey, how you got late, made friends with other blogger and then went on to do the hike. I had never heard of Kelly lake and Aspen Grove forest but they look amazing.

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  • May 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm
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    These photos are gorgeous! Looks like an amazing trip. The trout looks delicious too!

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  • May 20, 2019 at 7:53 am
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    Great travelogue on your hiking trip. I am sure you had a lovely time amongst nature just by looking at your photos. I loved how you have embed the gifs to give a real picture. Awesome photographs too.

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  • May 20, 2019 at 5:01 am
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    Wow! What an event! Sleeping under the stars with people who share your interests, in the wild, is truly a memorable experience.
    2000 people from 30 countries? Wow! That’s a lot and very wide spread!
    The night sky is spectacular. It not often that you see a sky full of stars.
    And I totally love how you’ve used gifs in this post. Its so engaging!

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  • May 19, 2019 at 10:12 pm
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    What an amazing experience! I love your photos especially the one you took of the Milky Way. It is my dream to be able to see it too!

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  • May 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm
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    That hiking trek would have been absolutely incredible. I would love an amazing journey like this. Such beautiful nature out there. Maybe someday I will get to do something like this.

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  • May 19, 2019 at 4:16 pm
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    Seems like you had lot of fun! It is fun to camp within an event like this. I would love to camp with my friends but not sure if I can get them ready. We need to find a safe place.

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  • May 19, 2019 at 1:16 pm
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    Looks like you found a great spot to enjoy camping! I haven’t been to this place but interesting destinations like this are definitely on our list!

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  • May 19, 2019 at 2:12 am
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    Kudos to you because hiking is not my forte at all. Those natural vistas a re definitely a sight to behold and they”re worth the hike, I’m sure.

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  • May 19, 2019 at 1:39 am
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    Those are all such beautiful landscapes! What a neat opportunity to be able to travel here.

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  • May 18, 2019 at 3:05 pm
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    Congratulations for being invited to this trip. This is a type of post I love to read. Adventurous and beautiful pics. Especially the one from top view, awesome capture.

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  • May 18, 2019 at 12:01 pm
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    What an amazing experience. And so nice to know you had such a fun time. The pictures are so beautiful.

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  • May 18, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    The Fjällräven Classicsounds like a great idea. It is always fun to camp in a group or as it can get very lonely on a trek. I am a trekker at heart and I can figure out by your blog that this trek is worth making an effort for. The views are astounding, especially those of the lakes.

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  • May 18, 2019 at 7:34 am
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    The Annual Fjällräven Classic sounds pretty impressive, so many people gathering together to camp and enjoy the wilderness, and trek together. The hike looks like quite a hard core one, with the elevation and terrain. But very beautiful, and the shared camping looks so convivial! Love that pan of river trout!

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  • May 18, 2019 at 3:28 am
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    That looks like an amazing trip to take. Would love to do something like this some day.

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  • May 17, 2019 at 4:14 pm
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    What a BEAUTIFUL adventure to embark upon! I love Kelly Lake! I’m sorry to say that I giggled a little bit when you talked about how you started walking down the wrong path and had to be rescued and brought back to the correct path. I volunteer with the Ragnar Wasatch Back race every year and manage an exchange at midnight in the middle of nowhere. It’s an out-and-back exchange and we try to set up enough blockades so runners don’t continue through us, but turn back around and stay on the correct path. This last year, we had to go rescue a runner that had ran an hour past us!

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  • May 17, 2019 at 3:03 pm
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    What an incredible experience! And an absolutely stunning one! These images are gorgeous!

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  • May 17, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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    This must have been an epic trek. The pictures bring alive the thrilling experience that you have had. You are indeed blessed to experience the magic of nature on this trek. I could almost feel the wind on my face reading your post and looking at the stunning pictures. The night pictures look really out of this world.

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  • May 17, 2019 at 8:43 am
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    Seeing The Rocky Mountains has been a dream of mine, but I wasn’t aware of this event. The pictures look absolutely amazing (I love the moving ones too!) and I can only imagine the views must have looked even more incredible in person.

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  • May 17, 2019 at 3:05 am
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    You are so lucky to be a part of this interesting trekking. I wasn’t aware of the Fjallraven before, but it surely looks very interesting. Trekking in Swedish Lapland must be an interesting thing if you could’ve joined their first event, but I would say even the trek over the State Park must have been totally memorable for you. The pictures are awesome, I must admit.

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  • May 17, 2019 at 1:09 am
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    What an amazing trip. I have not heard of Kelly Lake. This has definitely made it on my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing!

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