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:

Bierstadt Summit

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

(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)



Filed under hiking

2 responses to “Bierstadt

  1. Kris

    See, that’s the thing about hiking so close to the greater metro area, there’s hardly any solitude. Maybe I shouldn’t complain because I don’t go hiking as often as I’d like. Sometime we should go down to the Valley together and do some hikes there. You know, where it’s crowded if you come across five people in a whole day. There’s a lake above Crestone, next to Kit Carson or the Needles that I’ve yet to make it to. I attemped the hike but I didn’t make it because it was only about four weeks after pulling BOTH of my quads playing softball. I learned to warm up and stretch after that.

    That said, congrats on hiking Bierstadt and meeting your goal!

  2. Let’s do it! I really haven’t been hiking down there — we tried to go up San Francisco Creek once, but the hike was cut short when the sweet family dog, Shiloh (R.I.P.) caught a baby porcupine… We’ll stretch! It will be good!

    And for the record, I haven’t found ANY of the metro-area hikes as crowded as this! Last weekend’s hike to Chicago Lakes was pretty desolate — there were a few people, but not many at all…

    In response to your last comment, your dishes are freaking awesome, and I’d love some suggestions on good dish-scoping-out thrift stores.

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