On July 20th, 2013 Kara summited her first 14’er (14,278 feet elevation). After the 8 years living in CO it was time.  The goal was to train all summer and climb in Aug or September, but the opportunity came earlier than expected.  We camped overnight Friday near Keystone and explored some local mines, creeks, and waterfalls. Then on Saturday we met up with Nick’s hiking buddies (Matt & Ben) to ascend Gray’s Peak . . . Crazy hike as we took the least traveled western route. . .

IMG_0184The song Kara had going through her head while hiking:

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.

She can’t say whether she found her dream or not, but she did love the view from the top. . . hopefully you too can enjoy the view in the following video!

In Colorado, the highest mountains are those over 14,000 feet and are aptly referred to as “14ers”.  With the high altitude, lack of oxygen, and strenuous trails, hiking 14ers is a popular activity.  For my (Nicolas) birthday weekend, he and a couple of old friends hiked four 14ers in a single day!  Typically this isn’t possible, but these particular mountains are right next to each other, the trail starts above treeline (the elevation in which trees cease to be able to grow), and the trail is only 7.5 miles long.  Myself and the guys (Matt and Ben) camped along the trail Friday night, hiked Saturday, then stayed the final night camping.

The first peak to summit is Mt. Democrat, which is easily the busiest trail as everyone has to come and down the same trail.  Plus, the majority of people hiking that day are only doing Democrat, not the others.  After descending Democrat, half is a saddle in which you then can summit Mt. Cameron.  This was our half-way point in the day where we breaked for lunch.  Then, the trail goes down the eastish side of Cameron to Mt. Lincoln.  It’s a hairline ridge with steep drops on both sides (I wish I’d taken a picture of it), but it is still safe to do!  Afterward coming back down the back side, you then take a shoulder trail alongside Cameron to summit Mt. Bross.  This was by far the easiest of the four – and having a great reserve of energy, I actually jogged up the last 300 yards or so of the peak!  The final decent of Bross is steep with lots of loose gravel.  It took awhile to arrive at the bottom, but to our surprise, cool mountain waterfall and creek was awaiting where we could splash our faces.  It was a great end to a spectacular hike.

Video of the first morning!