Note: For non-Coloradoans, a 14'er is a mountain peak that towers over 14,000 feet in the air. Colorado has 53 - the most of any state - and because of the thin air and the beauty and all, it's a great feat to hike one.
Over the years, we have both had opportunities to hike one or another, but never were able to make it work -- mostly because of childcare. After a few hard hikes last year (Rabbit Ear's Pass, Hahn's Peak and Fish Creek Falls), I thought the kids might have it in them to do a 14'er WITH us... and what better day to make Ross' dream come true than Father's Day?
|Hiking Fish Creek Falls last summer. Back when a 2.5 hour hike was a LONG hike!|
The day before, we went on a warm-up hike up to Lily Pad Lake - and we were in business! The kids were stoked about hiking. The morning of, Lincoln even asked me if we could hike Lily Lake AGAIN before hiking Bierstadt. Oy vey! This child did not know what he was getting into.
|My happy hiker on the way to Lily Pad Lake|
|Check out my new hiking stick!|
|French toast, eggs, blackberries = Breakfast of Champions!|
|BAM! Found the trailhead!|
We went for 1/2 hour and then had our first snack. Normally, we find some cool spot to stop along the route - a cool rock to climb up and sit on, an overlook with a view, a lake, etc.- but today we said we would have "walking snack breaks" for the most part. The wind was picking up and I was afraid of stopping for too long.
|When we did stop, it was usually to climb up on some sort of rock - boys!|
|Still below tree line.|
It was somewhere right around 13,000 feet where spirits started to get low. I ran up to 13,000' EXACTLY (on my watch) and said "Look guys! We are RIGHT at 13,000 feet!" We stopped, looked around and took some pictures to admire the view. We then found an AWESOME little cove behind/in some rocks that sheltered us from the wind and sat down to have a proper snack break. I think that was a life saver.
|My attempt at a panaramic pict|
|Look at those happy faces - so excited to be eating!|
|Hunter hogging the cheese and sausage, while Lincoln snacks on energy chews!|
|They were seriously SO tired!|
|My determined little hiker.|
The closer we got to the top, the more motivated Lincoln became and he was leading us all.
And then FINALLY -- THE SUMMIT!!!
|No one can take this away from me - EVER!|
|On top of the world at 14,000 feet!|
I was happy to finally be there! We took some token pictures to prove that we had made it to the top.
Then, being Father's Day, I tried to take another one to remember the day by.
|We also got him a soda keg and CO2 system for kegging beer, but I somehow think this was the better gift.|
After pictures, it was signing the log (more proof that we had made it)!
|Linc and Hunter signed their own names!|
After all the logistics, it was more snacks and then it was time to descend. As we went down, I tried to get a better "Father's Day Picture" with just Ross and the boys.
|It was so windy on the way down, Ross couldn't keep his hat from blowing off!|
|Thankfully, the walk down was a lot easier than the walk up!|
And there you have it. 6 hours of hiking. 7.5 ish mile round trip. ~2,500 feet vertical. And...
One 14'er conquered.
|(If you ask Lincoln about it, he will make sure to tell you it was 14, 065 feet, not just 14,000 feet up.)|
Happy Father's Day, Ross. I love you.