Last weekend we went for a hike. Not just any hike, but a "14er." For those of you not yet hip to the lingo, a 14er is Colorado-speake for a mountain summit that tops 14,000 feet. We have 53 of them here and they are popular hikes. Lot of folks make it a thing to bag all of them. A few years ago we bagged Grays and Torreys in a day so we thought we were up to this by now, having been residents for 4 months.
For this adventure we chose the 7-mile trail that will net you 4 peaks in one day: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross. Boss! When we mentioned this to a friend she informed us that all the cool kids call that DeCaLiBro. Got it. We told a few other people, who all failed to mention just how many of those cool kids go hike this trail on any given Saturday in the summer.
And if I could back up a minute here, I should mention this was not actually OUR choice. It was selected by some peeps we've been hanging out with, none of whom live here, all of whom are leaving next weekend, and all but one of whom backed out on us. And I won't name any names either (but they rhyme with Spam, Hannon, Chet, Bailey, Laramie, Donner, Hester, Les, Wash, and Clarissa).
But seriously, the weather forecast was perfect, we had a few other friends along, we had energy bars and water and cameras and the promise of killer burgers in Alma when we finished. We were stoked. What could go wrong?
It was the best of hikes, it was the worst of hikes...
I'll keep it short and give you the bullet list.
So we did not all get to bag our four 14ers. Joel, Kevin, Emily, Rebecca, and Sarah all made it to the top of Democrat. Rex, Kristin, and I bailed and headed for Cameron, citing lack of trail, oxygen, and dog-and-cuss-free space. After Democrat, Kevin and Em headed back down to Kite Lake. The others came up Cameron to meet us, and despite us having a solid 45 minute lead (still with cussing but fewer dogs), they hit the summit about 30 seconds behind us. I'd blame the fact that Kristin was recovering from a chest cold, but really, it's because two of us are just old farts with sore knees.
At this point, it was late enough we decided not to try for Lincoln and Bross. The whole way back down I kept thinking this was easily the second worst hike I've ever had in my life (scroll to end for a photo of #1) and yet it was impossible to label this a "bad day." We were with friends and family, the scenery was breath-taking, and nothing really bad happened. No one needed to cuss. We all spent enough time feeling winded enough to put a damper on conversation, but just spending time together is good. Great even. It's the recurring lesson of our lives these past few years, that all the best times revolve around the people we dig, even if 9 of them bail out on you (it's okay -- we still love you). So no, it was not a bad day at all.
Still, in the future I might be tackling mostly 11ers. I'm gonna make it a thing.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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