Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet – it is the most of any state in the US. The peaks range from easy to very difficult and ascending any of them is considered quite the accomplishment. The altitude alone creates a challenge may of us are not familiar with. Add to it the changeable (extreme) weather to deal with and the technical terrain and you have the makings of a THPL challenge. And while you might set, as a goal, the ascent of all of the 14ers, you have to start with your first and that is what I did today. Mt. Bierstadt is one of the more approachable 14,000 foot peaks to ascend and it is by all accounts a very doable hike. Nothing, though, is easy about ascending or descending at between 11-14,000 feet.
The day started with skies as blue as a Crayola crayon and a mountain temperature that felt like fall had settled in – dressed for any condition the start in the low 40’s did not seem to be an obstacle and from the parking lot the trek to the top began. A great trail, and a bit of determination thrown in and the summit was reached. After a few pictures the descent seemed to be fun and enjoyable. But before I knew it, the rendezvous with the car was delayed and interrupted – all caused by a wild summer storm of cold, cold rain (45 degrees) and hail that pelted me for the better part of an hour. And just as quickly as it started, the sun came out and warmed the land, and me, and life was restored to the basics of hiking – loving the beauty all around, and appreciating it for what it means to everyone, around the world. A 14er was definitely on my bucket list and might be standard fare for the THPL community. Give it some thought, as it matters none when you get to it, just that you get to it – with this approach you have a lifetime of THPL ahead of you…
Loving life when hiking a 14er.