My friend and I are going to hike a fourteener this summer, and we’ve begun “training,” which basically means testing out shorter hikes at lower elevation and building up to the big one to make sure we won’t die when we attempt the 8.2-mile “out-and-back,” 2,369-foot elevation rise Mt. Bierstadt has to offer. We’ve been on three hikes so far. The first two weren’t too bad — under five miles, 1,000 or so feet up. In fact, I almost couldn’t remember the second one until just now — it involved a nice lookout tower.
Anyway, Erica called on Friday while I was at Indianapolis International Airport, and we made plans for today. She knew of a hike that would be about 5 miles, and she said how much elevation we would gain (which I can’t remember, but it didn’t seem bad — like I would even know).
So today we met up, drove to Evergreen, and hiked up Bergen Peak. It ended up being 4.7 miles up, and another 4.7 miles back. Which equates to 9.4 miles, which also equates the longest hike either of us had ever been on. It was awesome. It was awesome for (at least) the following reasons:
- We have both dated mountainous men, by which I mean the outdoorsy type, who might think that Colorado doesn’t have much to offer compared to _____ (wherever they were from or had transplanted to before ending up here in this state where being outdoorsy isn’t very special because even soulless engineer types can enjoy the outdoors, and do). They thought we were city girls, or academics, or (gasp) non-athletic librarian-types, and took us on easy-ish hikes in attempts to “introduce us” to the outdoor realm while not making us hate it all. (Okay, so I’m taking some liberties here, and this might not have happened to either of us in exactly this way, but the point is that we had never really hiked such a long distance for ourselves — it had always been someone else’s idea for what to do, where to go, and what we could handle).
- We had our own ideas of what we could handle, and it didn’t involve 9.4 miles at this point. We wouldn’t have chosen this hike out of a book, more likely opting for a 5-to-7-mile “moderate/strenuous” hike, saving the bigger one for later, when we were in better shape. And yet we did it. We hiked to the top, beyond the 5 or so times I said, smartly, “I think this is the last switchback — we should be there soon,” and even though our legs beckoned us to give them a rest.
Here are some pictures:
(Bergen Peak — not quite the top)
(The cool bug — we decided that maybe I should be an entomologist next — I find insects pretty fascinating. There were also a lot of butterflies, but they never hung out for long enough to get a good picture)
(Bergen Peak at the top)
(at the top still, with the little girl who asked if I wanted a rock as a souvenir — it probably contained some mica, she said)