Today Facebook gifted me with a happy reminder that two years ago today, I hiked my very first Colorado 14er (Mt Bierstadt 14, 060ft) with three of my amazing, badass girlfriends! I learned some things that memorable day about hiking 14ers and here they are for your reading pleasure…
1. Choose the right hike for your abilities and experience. My girlfriends Lindsey, Molly, Sarah and I carefully selected Mount Bierstadt because it is classified as a Class 2 hike according to the Colorado Fourteeners guide by Gerry Roach. While there is no such thing as an “easy 14er”, Bierstadt has a reputation of being a good “first timer” 14er.
2. Start hiking as early as possible in the day! The weather in Colorado can get pretty dangerous (check the forecast before you leave your house.) It is not uncommon for severe storms to build in the mountains in the afternoon. Less than two months before our hike, 15 fellow hikers were injured from a lightning strike on the very same mountain. I hate lightning, like really really hate lightning. My friend Soledad in Key West knows that 😉😉😭.
3. Layer layer layer!
Look at all of those stylish, warm layers! Hats, fleeces, gloves, non-cotton layers, rain jackets… oh, and sun protection 😎. Always keep extras in your pack in case of an emergency. I especially like having a dry shirt and fresh, wool socks stashed away in my pack for later.
4. Brings lots of water and high protein snacks.
5. Soak it all in! While hiking my first 14er was incredibly strenuous and probably one of the hardest physical challenges that I’ve ever attempted, you gotta stop, look around, and just say “holy shit!” (Haha potty mouth.) I probably said that phrase more than once on this particular hike. The expansive views are truly breathtaking.
8. Remember what I said about storms?
As we reached the trailhead at the conclusion of our hike, a very dark and angry looking storm cloud set its aim for Bierstadt. Time to get outta here and chow down at one of Idaho Springs’ many restaurants.
9. My first 14er experience was so awesome, challenging, but oh so rewarding. I’ve had the bug ever since.