Skip to main content

Mt Bierstadt

When I first moved to Colorado, the house I was staying in at the time had a book titled, "The Colorado 14ers". I had to Google what a "14er" was and quickly ascertained that hiking one of those bad boys was completely and unequivocally out of the question. Living in the snow at 9,000 feet was going to have to be enough for me. For those who have no idea...a 14er is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. There are 53 of them in the state of Colorado.

7.5 months after saying "never will I ever", I climbed one of those bad boys on a day that will no doubt be remembered as another massive accomplishment achieved in the first year of living in Colorado.

Mt. Bierstadt is rated one of the "easy" ones. It stands at 14,062-ish feet (depending on what damn boulder you stand on, I suppose). "Easy" is a cute term. You begin at over 11,000 feet and climb up a literal mountain to get to the peak....the peak, by the way, is reached by climbing over boulders into the sky. See:

Still didn't cry at this point
My closest friend here also moved from Georgia a week after I did we just didn't meet until after we both had moved thanks to a stellar introduction from a friend in Georgia. She and her husband became quick friends and I spend many weekends with them. She's my hiking buddy and when she suggested we do this, I was hesitant, but also love a good challenge so I agreed. We arrived Friday evening to find a camping spot along Guenella Pass. I'll pause here to say that THAT in itself would have made for a perfect weekend because it was stunning.

Not a bad view...

Saturday morning began with an alarm and instant coffee at 4:30am. We were on the trail by 6:30 as the sun was rising and discovered very quickly that we were late to the party....or on time if you're into jockeying back and forth and between hundreds of like-minded people. The sheer amount of people was frustrating. In fact, it was probably the worst part. Especially the talkers that we'd keep getting caught up with. Look, honey, I appreciate your boyfriend once took you on a hike and that you had a great time and that this is much harder and that you are so happy to be out here and, oh look at that!....but some people (me) need a little quiet while we're both appreciating and suffering through nature. SHUT. UP.

I digress. The first half of the trail was by no means easy...I'd say about a mile up Erica and I were both like, ohhhh, we can feel that elevation, but overall we both felt good. Then the halfway mark came and shit got real. We climbed up and up and as the air started getting thinner, so did my patience. The wheels came off the bus for a brief moment with about a mile to go. I had looked up and it felt like the peak kept getting farther away. I'm a complainer by nature, but I'm also stubborn, so there was exactly NO way we weren't getting to the top of that thing.

After a about another hour plus of hiking and a few scary moments of climbing boulders, we made it and we had made really good time... We, along with half the population of Colorado, spent some time at the top taking our obligatory photos, enjoying a cold beer and taking in a view that makes a person feel very insignificant.

I had been told to be descending no later than 11:30am because the weather can change in a heartbeat and lightening strikes are common. Because of this, we had given ourselves plenty of time to get up there, enjoy the view and get the hell outta there before becoming new headlines. We knew it was time to go when the wind came in and the gusts were enough to make you feel like you were gonna fall off the side of the mountain. We, along with half the population of Colorado, all decided to start descending at the same time apparently. Turns out, climbing down boulders is a little scarier than climbing up them especially when you're in a rush.

What is this outfit, BTW? Oh, it's warm.

The hike down was rather uneventful, until we hit a pit stop with about 1.5 miles to go. I put my pack and hiking poles down and made the, "It REALLY smells like piss", comment about 3 minutes before realizing the source of said piss stench was right where I laid said pack and poles. The bottom of my pack, my hiking poles and bite valve to my hydration pack were covered in muddy piss. Or pissy mud. Either way, that's when the tears came. Tired, hangry and with sore feet, that was the last f'ing straw. "I cannnot wait to get off the f'ing mountain!", were words that probably came out of my mouth... We made good time that last 1.5 miles, though!

BEFORE the muddy piss incident.

7.5-ish hours (including about 30 minutes at the peak) in just over 7.5 miles with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

We spent Saturday afternoon relaxing at our campsite. I took a few minutes to go sit next to the stream that was nearby (and that we could hear from our campsite!) because as much as I love mountains, I love water. I sat there listening to this beautiful stream doing it's thing in between a mountain range and I guess that's the 2nd time I cried that day. I am thankful for this place, the opportunity to live in it and the ability to enjoy the hell out of it. My silent hope while sitting there was that I never, ever take this place for granted because I am literally living the dream.

I have no idea if another 14er is in my future, however, I have a feeling there probably is. If there isn't, though, this weekend's adventure was a beautiful, soul-filling challenge and I'm proud of that.


Popular posts from this blog


 “I don’t know if I should congratulate you or console you.” - Craig “How about both?” - Me This was a conversation in our kitchen earlier this week. After a year and a half of weekly therapy, I had my last session with my therapist Tuesday. Not because I was over it or because it wasn’t working or because he retired. Nope. Because we got to a place where we could both say I’ve got the tools I need to move on. I have to say that there is no timeline for therapy and every situation is unique. I moved on from intensive therapy with my therapist because that it was worked for ME. I am certainly no expert and I have a feeling this isn’t the end of my therapy forever, but I do know that my experience with the right person allowed me to heal in ways I literally never thought possible. And it gave me the experience of a healthy “goodbye”. I was never prepared for that, so when we set an end date (not-so-coincidentally my Nanna’s birthday), it was hard to process. No one talks about

It's a Funny Feeling

Let's be honest, I've been riding my bike more this year than the last 3 years COMBINED. While that's sad for the last couple of summers, it's great for this one. And this girl.  Thanks to some riding buddies who are calm and patient, I've been able to get out and ride more in the city whereas before even the thought of riding in Buckhead scared the living daylights out of me. I've encouraged myself when I really, REALLY don't want to ride and would prefer to go home after a long day and drink a glass of wine. I've pushed myself to go a little further than I felt I could. I faced some fears. Riding over I-285 during rush hour traffic giggling because I was having a way better time than those commuters! I was out this evening by myself on a local rail-to-trail and it was glorious. The trail was quiet with very few people on it, the weather was great and I just felt good! I trucked along at my best pace yet and kept thinking to myself how


A friend sent this video to me and when I watched it, I was struck more by the feelings it brought up around the content than the story itself.  Christen Reighter's story is an interesting and frustrating insight into what it means to NOT want a child. I invite you to watch this. Her experience is not unique and needs to be talked about. Even if you have kids. Or want them. What struck me most was what she says during her TedTalk: "I have believed having children was an extension of womanhood, not the definition." Truth is, I've been struggling with this lately. Not the fact that I'm longing for children. I'd be fibbing if I said there is a very tiny part of me that wonders what this will feel like when I get to the end of life. HOWEVER. That feeling isn't strong enough for me to want to find out. I don't feel like having children should be thought of as a "keeping the fingers crossed" kind of situation. If you aren't sure you'l