"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bagging our first 14er - CHECK!

Frisco, Colorado
Prospector Campground - NF

Finally.  Our day has come.  We've been in Colorado now since April and we've been slowly adjusting to the altitude.  We have done many short hikes and then lengthened them over the weeks adding altitude as we went.  10,000, 11,000, 12, and up to 13,000 feet elevation.  Whew!  Not easy.  While we still felt winded almost every time, it did get a little easier.

We have great weather forecasted and we should not have to turn back due to thunderstorms which can move in quickly.  Nothing but blue skies this early in the morning.

Sawtooth Peak is to the left and the summit of Mt. Bierstadt to the right.
There won't be many words to this.  Just some pictures.  Here are some stats though:
Mt. Beirstadt is a Class 2 hike.
The trailhead starts at 11,669 ft. of elevation.
The Summit is 14,065 ft. elevation.
The gain is 2855 ft. of elevation.
Total hike is 7 miles.
We're up at 5am with an hour drive to get to the trailhead.  We start our hike at 7am.
You hike down into the marsh and over boardwalks before the creek and the climb starts.

Traffic jam getting over the creek as there is no bridge, just a few rocks.  No one wants to get their hiking boots wet right off the bat.  Some people did fall in.  Not us.

You climb for a while through the willows.

Once you climb above the willows the trail never lets up.  It's all steep from here.
 We luck out that it is peak wildflower season on the slopes.  Words can't describe it.  Just gorgeous!
The sun rising over the ridge as we hike up.

This little guy was having no problems.

Marsh view down below.

Climbing up the grassy upper meadows.  We had to hike on the weekend as Steve works during the week.  Unfortunately, this leads to more people on the trail during the weekends.

Taking a breather.

Sawtooth in the distance.

Steve's turn to catch his breath.

As I'm huffing and puffing and only 1/2 way up, I find my self wondering if you can hike Sawtooth?

Of course it just keeps getting steeper.  So far, no problems with Altitude Sickness like I had trying to summit Mt. Humphreys in Arizona earlier this year (just over 13K).  Here's the post for that hike if you want a refresher.  We made sure to drink a lot, take ibuprofen along the way and use protein gels.

The weather would go back and forth from cold to hot, breezy to very windy depending on where on the slope we were.  Layers were important as well as sunglasses.  The sunlight is extra bright up here.

Once you climb above the upper meadows, the fun part starts.  The rocks and dirt are loose so you have to watch your footing and keep your boots laced tight.

Uh, where's the trail?  Just follow the ants.

Crossing the last saddle brings you to the spine.  The rocks turn to boulders.

See the hikers along the top?  They look like ants.

We're running on adrenaline now!  We want to make it to the top!

Once we clear the snowfields were almost there!

No trail anymore.  You just boulder your way up.

360 degrees of total amazing up here!

Someone made a sign they brought up with them and let us use it for a picture too.

You will never meet as many happy people as you do at the top of a summit hike!
Everyone that was stopped along the way not sure if they could make it, tired, hurt, some not feeling well with the elevation, all happy at the top!
We also found our highest geocache at the summit!
Veni, Vidi, Vici !!

I have not felt this excited since hiking to the top of Flat Iron earlier this year!
Here's the link to that hike!

A little lunch and some time just admiring these amazing views.  We'd like to attempt another 14er, but even if we don't that's ok.  This is such a truly wild feeling making it to the top of this one!

Two very happy hikers!

We could stay up here for such a long time, but as hikers know, going down doesn't mean it's easy.  Sometimes it's actually harder!  We knew we still had a long way to go, achy feet and all.

The views really help to distract from the sore while climbing back down.

And the blanket of flowers that go on forever.

Big, puffy, white clouds moving in, but no thunderstorms, yay!
We've had to turn around on many of our hikes because of storms before we made it to the top.


Another back-up at the creek.  This time, many just walked through it not caring if their boots got wet as it was only another mile to the parking area and mostly flat until the very end.

A couple more shots from the bottom looking up at the summit!

We finish at 3pm.  Not bad for our first 14er.

We had some soup, watched the sun go down then went to bed!

Just a slice of moon in the upper left corner.
What a great day it was!
"It's a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory." -  Ed Viesturs


  1. Great job guys and I am glad you had the perfect day for the awesome hike!

  2. Good for you! How cool you found a fourteener with a relatively short trail...of course short means steep! It is the best feeling to accomplish a demanding goal like that! Beautiful views and flowers!

    1. We had planned a few peaks, but between the weather and our distance to the peak, made it a challenge. So happy it worked out and NO Alt Sickness either!

  3. Way to go! Awesome post and love the wildflowers. We missed them this year, hopefully next year on our way back from the left coast.

  4. Wow! That's so cool. That must be a great feeling of accomplishment for the two of you. It really looks like an amazing hike and I loved the pictures. I was out of breathe just reading about it!!

    1. It did, and still does, feel great! It was perfect timing for the flowers and just so pretty! We got lucky with the unpredictable weather too.

  5. Congrats guys! The views are stunning. It's amazing how many were doing the hike.
    Safe travels!

    1. Thanks. Yes, we've heard almost all the trails ranked 1 - 3 are hiked heavily in the summer of course especially so on the weekends.

  6. While your fb photos were awesome, following you all the way up was amazing!! What a great hike! Congratulations! Good you did it when you did since your latest Jeep trip had lots of snow at the higher elevations. Love the wildflower photos...so pretty:)

    1. Thanks Pam. It wasn't easy. There was plenty of "Cr*p, do we still have to go that far!" comments along the way and doubting if we should continue up. But that makes it that much sweeter making it :-)

  7. Congrats again on summitting. Love the wildflowers and views from the top. A little different outcome from the Flat Iron hike....done before dark. VVV. You say you were lucky, I say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Under that definition...you're the luckiest folks I know. See you soon.

    1. Thanks Curt! You know it took me two tries to get up Flat Iron and I wasn't going to give this one a second try, so we kept our sights on the top, baby steps. See you two next month!

  8. WOW! The views are amazing and beautiful. Glad the thunderstorms stayed away. You now have us geocaching.

    1. It was one of the best hikes we've been on! Geocaching is very contagious! It's amazing how many there are all around and nobody else knows! And many have really interesting stories behind them or are hidden in special places you'd never see otherwise.

  9. Really proud of you guys and so happy for you that you made it!!

  10. WOW that's crazy!!! Good on ya you two.

    Dave & Diane

    1. Thanks Dave! It was a crazy hike.

    2. Hey Dave and Diane we're in Buena Vista for 3 or 4 Days let's get together!

  11. Congrats!!! No Altitude Sickness helps :)).
    Great flowers along the way. If you want mountains to yourselves, drop back to 13'ers... nobody gives a shit about climbing those :)
    Box Canyon Mark

    1. Ha, ha, so true! We rarely saw anyone else on our other hikes these past months!


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