From Sea Level to 14,000 ft. - Checking off my First 14er in Colorado

Mt. Bierstadt, Colorado.

By: Julia P
October 12, 2016

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I've always wanted to chase the fall colors and the golden aspens in Colorado I have always heard about and seen pictures of so this fall I booked a flight to Denver, rented a mini SUV and was off to the mountains. For the first couple of days I was in awe by the beauty that Colorado had to offer, but by the third day, I knew I needed to go on a hike before I left Colorado. Driving around and seeing the fall colors was great, but I was craving a real experience and a taste of what Colorado had to offer. I started researching what the easiest 14er was and most of the sources I found named Mt. Bierstadt as the "easiest." 

At first, I was very apprehensive about doing this hike alone even though sources called it "easy". I wasn't sure what to expect at that elevation nor was I sure if my body would be able to handle it. I even sat in my car that morning contemplating on if I should back out or not because it was snowing. As I have lived most of my life in sunny Southern California, hiking in snow was a first for me and I wasn't really sure if I was up for the challenge. As the minutes kept passing while I was stalling in my car, I saw a family get out of their car to start the hike. Before they left I asked them if they ever did this hike and they replied that they never have so it kind of gave me hope. After I watched them walk away, I decided that I was going to go for it, so I layered up and headed out. Which by the way, layers are necessary! 

This was the view right before I started the hike as the sun started peaking behind the mountain:

As I continued on in the cold, watching snow fall lightly to the ground I came across this wooden path at the beginning of the hike: 

Mother Nature was lighting my path!

I even had to walk across this little stream that was iced over with snow. 

As I continued on, I actually ended up catching up to the family from the car! Turns out, Natalie (daughter), Bob (dad), and Judy (mom) were from Maryland and were also visiting Colorado and experiencing their first 14er as well. I ended up hiking with them all the way! They were great people and we all encouraged each other to make it to the end. 

Here is a view from the trail:

Did I already mention how cold it was? So cold to the point that I barely took photos because it hurt to have my hands out of my gloves. And the higher we got, the harder it was to breath even with just a few steps. There was definitely a lot of mental self-talk happening so I was definitely appreciative of having company. 

But after lots of breaks and snacks that were absolutely necessary, all four of us made it to the top! It was so cold and windy at the top. Here's the view:

Again, unfortunately did not take that many photos because of how cold it was. We basically snapped a few photos, took a break while we had a snack to reenergize and then headed back down as fast as we could. 

This was the view looking back at the mountain when we were nearing the end of the hike. It felt pretty good knowing we actually hiked to the top of the summit. Also, whoever said Mt. Bierstadt was easy must definitely be from Colorado because us sea-level muggles definitely struggled. Hard, but oh so worth it! Can't wait to get back to Colorado in the future to add another 14er to my bag. I definitely recommend for those of you wanting to check off your first 14er off your list. Happy adventures!  

 

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