Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fourteeners Finally!

Joel and I have discussed for a decade now that we needed to hike a 14k foot peak. It was always a little daunting for me to think about it, but I must say since having little ones, and starting to run has helped my asthma quite a bit.  So when several people at Joel's office decided in January to start training for Fourteener I decided I would try to. The biggest factor would be getting a sitter. Thankfully Auntie Sarah came to the rescue. So on Friday night we had dinner with Sarah and the girls, then headed to her place to get everyone cleaned up and in bed. Now I am not sure they stayed in bed, but there were in bed when we headed home around 8. We went home and prepared for a early morning.  Our alarm went off around 3:45 and we were on the road by 4. Thankfully traffic is pretty light, so we made to Breckenridge, by about 5:30. Grabbing something quick to eat we meet the Markwest group at the trailhead before 6. Sadly one of Joel's co workers meet up with a deer on the way in and had cause quite a bit of damage to his car. Thankfully it was still drivable, but would need some bodywork.  We had about twenty people in our group, so grouping up in the parking lot we headed up. Quickly after leaving the parking lot, we started to all set our own pace. Clark (I think still pumped up from the car accident) quickly left the rest of in the dust, but I was feeling pretty good. The altitude at the trailhead is just under 11k(10,850), so I was starting to get a good feeling about making it to the top.

Taking a break at about 12k feet
We continued to make pretty good time, Only stopping ever 3/4 mile to catch our breath. They we hit the last mile. I think at this point someone attached cement blocks to feet. The last mile was TOUGH!  We climbed almost 1k in that mile and with the thinner air, it was really hard. I am guessing I was taking breaks about 50 feet.  But Joel and I were the second and third of our group to make it to the summit. (behind Clark who had to wait an hour for us to arrive). We had great weather and were able to take a break on the summit, From what others told us it was pretty uncommon to be able to do, since weather and wind are pretty harsh at the higher altitudes. We had climbed 3,340 feet and made it to an altitude of 14,265.

Joel and I at the peak

View from the peak

Several of our local friends we saw on the way up.

The hung out just a few feet from the trail (Scott Parker and Joel selfie with a goat)

After a group photo, we headed back down. Now, normally I love to descend. But this was so rocky I think it was just a hard or harder going down. The other issue was that the trail was very crowded. I love that Coloradans and other visitors get out and about in our beautiful state, but I was surprised so many were on this peak.... a would guess about 1000 people were on the mountain that day. 
Here are the stats - 2 hours 45 mins to ascent
                     Total Time Around 5 hours 30 mins
                     Total Altitude -14,250 feet
                     Total Climb - 3,450 feet
                     Total Miles - 6.75 
 We grabbed some lunch in Breck before heading back down to get the kids. Had a great time, but was a little sore  (okay very sore) for a few days. I would do another one, if it works out again sometime in the future. 

                                                     Scott even hauled up a banner 

                                  See why that last mile hurt sooooo bad

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