Climbing Colorado’s 14ers is no easy feat, but with determination and motivation, even a city girl can do it.
I’ve never considered myself an outdoorsy person, but I had already been living in Denver for a few months and decided it was time to go climb a mountain. Or two.
In Colorado, they have what are known as “14ers” which are mountain peaks that are over 14,000 feet. There are over 50 of these 14ers in Colorado and there are people who are ambitious enough to climb every single one of them.
Some of my friends and I had already gone on a few small hikes, but it was time we uped the anty before winter started so we made plans to climb a 14er. We also realized that if we went to Grays Peak, we could actually knock two 14ers off the list because Grays is connected to Torreys Peak by a .8 mile long saddle.
Now, as I said earlier, I’m not really outdoorsy. The closest thing I experienced to being outdoors, camping, or hiking, was during my time in the Army. But there’s that saying…
“When in Rome…”
So when in Colorado… you climb mountains.
Our group got to Grays peak really early because we didn’t want to get back too late. The sun was just starting to rise over the mountains and we could still see the moon.
We grabbed our packs full of water and snacks and headed out. At first, the terrain was still pretty nice. There were flowers and some trees. As we got higher, however, there was less and less vegetation.
And let me tell you, they don’t call them the “Rocky Mountains” for nothing. It really is all rocks. I was pretty happy when I found an occasional plant.
It took a few hours but we finally made it to the top of Grays Peak. We were a little winded, but in very good spirits. We snacked and took in the views.
Half of our group ended up not wanting to go on to Torreys Peak. But Jared, Joe, and I wanted to keep going. We motivated each other and really had a great time on our way to the second peak. We had to keep taking breaks because the elevation was killing our lungs, but we kept going.
I occasionally would belt out “I’m a maniac, maniac…” and stomp my feet like in Flashdance and the guys would laugh. Like I said, we were in really good spirits. And I was pretty proud of myself for being able to keep up with the guys too. For a city girl, I thought I was doing pretty well.
So from Grays Peak we went down about 400 feet to the saddle that divided the two peaks. We crossed it and began the steep climb to the top of Torreys Peak. The views there were amazing…
I think at this point the guys and I were a little quieter. We were really soaking up what we had just done and accomplished. And catching our breaths. Eventually we started making our way down the mountain. At this point my knee was starting to hurt a bit, but I sucked it up and kept going. The hike down to the bottom was definitely easier and took less time than the hike up.
This is probably one of my fondest memories of my time in Colorado. I tried something new and spent the day with awesome friends. Even though I rolled my ankles a few times and should have worn more layers (it was freezing at the top!!) I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
So the moral of the story?
Have you ever surprised yourself and done something you never thought you would/could do? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂
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