Mount Bierstadt. It was our goal for the summer, the benchmark of hiking-without-boyfriends success. We did it — at a leisurely pace, but not necessarily with a leisurely sentiment. And I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it was exciting to make it to the top and see so far in every direction. But it was a bit of a circus. Like the Disneyland of hikes. I should have counted, but I bet there were at least 100 people, maybe 150, on the trail, including a troop of boy scouts, parents with screaming toddlers, fashionistas, etc. It was fine. But we’ve been on better hikes. If you plan to hike Mt. Bierstadt, though, I imagine it would be well worth waiting for a weekday to do it. Otherwise, the summit may look something like this:
And that was just looking in one direction. There were at least as many people behind me. The boy scouts were sort of cute for a couple miles, and then they turned obnoxioius. So did their parents/leaders. There were plenty of people who seemed to be racing to the top — they passed us, and it was okay. Erica and I are opposites in that she dreads the going-up part but is fine going down, and I would go up forever if I didn’t have to go down (like last weekend and the 9-mile uphill hike / hitchhike down from Mt. Evans — I might just do that exact hike from now on, over and over and over). I suppose it makes us a good pair — at least one of us isn’t miserable at any given time. My new backpack was awesome, as was the new moisture-wicking shirt (which looks like any other shirt, amazingly). Also very nice was the Camelbak Lacey let me borrow — I stayed hydrated and didn’t get a headache (but why do I have one today?).
I’ll probably go on a few more hikes this summer… I’m not so sure about fall hiking — I’m pretty gear-deficient when it comes to colder weather. I suppose I could work on changing that. And I do want to try cross country skiing this winter — do any of you know someone who does this? People keep saying “Cross-country skiing is really hard,” which I think is like saying, “Hiking is really hard.” It can be, but it doesn’t have to be — depends on the terrain. But maybe I just don’t know. I also want to figure out ways to strengthen my knees so they don’t hurt so much on the way down…
Anyway, back to the hike… As a hike, without the goal-ish-ness attached to it, it wasn’t one of my favorites. So far, I’ve really enjoyed Bergen Peak, Herman Gulch / Herman Lake, and Chicago Lakes most. Chief Mountain was good, but pretty short. And I hardly remember the first one, which I think we should do again just to see how we’ve progressed as hikers (maybe as people).
I write all of this, and then I look at my pictures again. Mount Bierstadt actually was a beautiful hike, but I was distracted by the hoards of people on the trail. To do it justice before I sign off for the night, here are some more pictures:
(pretty little ponds)
(Grays and Torreys in the background, Guanella Pass in the foreground)
(Mount Evans, where I was last weekend — you can just barely see the observatory to the right of the little peak)
(Layers of blue, nameless (to me) mountains)
(Proof of beauty above the treeline)