Day 33: July 24, 2013

With every intention of waking up early enough to catch Christine and share breakfast, we began our day around 10:30AM. We missed Christine but she left us the best fruit options, so we loaded fruit on our granola/oatmeal and had a leisurely, delicious breakfast.

Christine also left us a lovely note with a bunch of local hikes printed and attached that she thought we might enjoy. We had planned to do an easy hike today, see Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow, and explore Denver before our Red Rocks show the following day. We chose a cute, easy 4-miler around 2 local mountain lakes. With lunches packed and waters filled, we hopped in Eddie and left for Guanella Pass (a road that scales the local mountains) around 1PM.

We arrived at our trailhead in the middle of a storm! Both of us have weak spots for thunderstorms, so we sat on a rock and watched the weather for an hour or so.

After the storm passed, we ran into a couple raving about Mount Bierstadt. They told it was a 3 mile hike (they meant one-way, we misunderstood) and totally worth the trek. It sounded easy enough, so we decided to go for it and took Eddie down to that trailhead, instead. We began the ascent around 2:30PM.

Taylor became infatuated with the trail’s flowers:

Rightfully so! They were rather gorgeous 🙂

On route, we passed a group that had began their hike at 6AM! It had taken them 5 hours to scale Bierstadt. We brushed it off, there was no way in our minds that this hike would be that challenging.

As it turns out, Mount Bierstadt is a 14,065 foot mountain. Yes, we decided to hike our first “fourteener” leisurely one lazy afternoon.

The views on the way up were wonderful!

It wasn’t until we reached the rocky inclines that lined the actual side of the mountain that I ran into trouble: I am grounded (I think), and I knew that I wasn’t having panic attacks, but my god did it feel like I was! I couldn’t breath! It wasn’t a panic attack, it was altitude sickness, and while it did slow down our hike…

…it also gave us more time to appreciate the beauty that surrounded us at every height.

I pushed through,

and we arrived at what I thought was the top of the mountain. We sat, relaxed, ate our packed peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and befriended the locals.

After lunch, Taylor checked our elevation (iPhone app) – 13,800 feet. We weren’t at the top. The giant pile of rocks in front of us was the real top.

Welp, we found snow on the way!

(Taylor had to drag me up… can you tell?)

Taylor’s app confirmed our success just before the top!

And was the top BEYOND worth the trek!! We found a capsule that had within it a paper (dated with a place to sign names – we signed ours of course!) and this sign!

We did not want to descend the beautiful Bierstadt, but it was getting to be the late afternoon (and we heard coyotes on the way down, a good sign to get back to Eddie).

I love you, Bierstadt. Here are some pictures from the hike down:

(yeah, I made that jump.)

Umm… we saw a moose taking a bath!!! (I swear, this experience is actually worthy of three exclamation points.)

Can you see her?? Dead center of the photo, far right of the lake?? She was awesome.

The sun was setting, making the trail a little scarier than it had been at the beginning of our adventure. We scurried back to Eddie and were home with Christine by 9PM. She was very impressed with our impromptu fourteener!

We came home to a home made meal (seriously, Christine, thank you so much for taking such wonderful care of us) of salmon, steamed carrots, and a brown rice/quinoa mix. We ate like kings! Dessert: blueberry preserves and bananas. So, so, so, tasty.

Our lazy-turned-strenuous-adventure-day ended with a movie night in the living room. Duey decided it was time for bed before “You’ve Got Mail” finished, so Christine took the pups upstairs and went to bed with them. Taylor and I stayed up to finish the movie, agreed that it was kind of weird yet likable, and went to bed soon after Christine. What a well earned rest!

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