As the summer approached we decided to take our love of hiking to a new level. Our goal was to take on at least one 14er this summer – and so far we’ve taken on two. For those that might not know, a 14er is a mountain that is at least 14,000ft high. These hikes are particularly challenging because they are long, rocky, and the altitude can really get to you. You also have to be very prepared because when you’re up so high anything can happen weather wise. With our first 14er hike, Mt Democrat, there was not a cloud in the sky and despite a little wind towards the top it was pretty much perfect weather. However, on our second hike up Gray’s Peak, we got rained and snowed on! You just never know. We’ve enjoyed the 14er hikes we’ve done so far, but they really are a lot of work!
We hiked Mt Democrat on June 9th. It took us a total of 6 hours to make it to the top and back down. About half way down we stopped to have lunch (it was too windy at the top) and when we started up again we ran into a huge mountain goat on the trail. It didn’t look very friendly so we moved off of the trail to get around it. We ended up hiking over some very rocky and snowy terrain to escape potentially getting trampled. We never did see the mountain goat again, which was a relief! Although exhausted when we reached the bottom, it was definitely a feeling of great accomplishment to know we had summitted our first 14er!
The second 14er we attempted was with a group of friends from our church small group. We had a lot of fun talking with them along the trail. This hike took us nearly eight hours and we encountered thunder, snow, and rain at the summit and then all the way down. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the summit due to the approaching storm. The clouds were dark and we could hear thunder in the not so distant valley on the other side of the summit. We decided to stop at exactly 14,000ft on the trail (a nice man with a GPS showed us the spot) and then came back down. It rained pretty much all the way back to the car and we were glad we came prepared with rain gear. Needless to say, we were sooo tired when we finally got back to the car.
Hopefully we’ll have some energy to complete at least some more hikes, if not another 14er this summer.