It's summer time and so that means it's time for hiking in Colorado. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get up to the mountains as much as I would have liked so far this summer. In fact, my friends Jaime, Jenn and I started the hiking season with a Mt. Democrat, a 14'er in the Mosquito range. Potentially, you could do 4 14er's in a day and include Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross. Spoiler alert, we were not able to do that as much as my little heart wished I was that amazing.
Jenn and I woke up at 3 am and left for the mountain around 4:30 am in the morning from Arvada. (I need time to drink a coffee...a lot of coffee) Jaime has had some altitude sickness in the past and decided to drive up there and camp out the night before with her husband Chris to acclimate. I made Jenn stop and take a photo of the mountains at first light. I cannot get enough of the alpenglow!
As Jenn and I approached the trailhead we saw Jaime and Chris headed back down the mountain. Altitude sickness had struck Jaime and she was pretty sick. This really isn't something you want to ignore or push through. I was so sad that they were leaving as she is our adventure buddy and we had this planned for a month, but I was proud of Jaime for listening to her body and knowing she couldn't push through. That's not an easy decision, but the right one.
Jenn and I decided to go on ahead. The parking lot was full and the trail of cars lined up on the side of the road had started. We got ready and started out.
It is currently wildflower season and the beginning of this hike did not disappoint.
After about a mile of 1,000 feet elevation gain, we reached the saddle between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron.
This is the point in the hike where I knew I had made a critical error. My backpack was too heavy. I had brought an unnecessary coat that was weighing me down and I had resigned to the fact that I would just hang out here until Jenn came back. My legs were just not going to haul this bag up the mountain. In true Jenn fashion, she was not going to leave me behind and took my coat and carried it. I don't know why a coat would literately mean the difference between turning around or finishing but it did. We scrambled the last 1,000 feet. The whole time I'm striving to finish and thinking why do I do this to myself? This is insane. I'm never doing it again. And then we reached.....the false summit. Why does every mountain have to have a false freaking summit???
The summit was not a hard push from here. A small stretch of snow, and for the record, my klutzy behind did not hit the snow! (Let that little miracle sink in!) We made it to the top. Can we please take in these beautiful views? All I could think of is this would be an amazing place for an elopement wedding or engagement.
This was my 3rd 14'er. I'm no expert, and I make awful backpack choices. The whole time I'm going up I'm gasping to breathe and thinking why did I do this? I go down and my legs are absolute jello and I'm praying the whole way my legs don't fail me and I don't fall. Yet each and every time I am so happy that I did them and so proud that I pushed myself to the breaking point and actually did not break. Which leads me to my next question:
Anyone looking for a hiking buddy Monday-Friday for a 14er?