Happy Friday! How amazing is it that it is already Friday! Every weekend should be 4 days!
Monday we decided to hike a 14er. A 14er is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. There are 53 in Colorado! We chose to hike Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks. It is a 9 mile round trip, starting at about 11,000 feet and at the top of Gray’s you are at 14,270. Once you get to Gray’s you can continue for less than a mile to Torrey’s. That is why most people do both 14ers in one day.
We left the house (Denver) at 6am and it only took about 45 minutes to get to the strange parking lot that the map tells you to pull into. After that there is about 3 miles of ROCKY road to drive up. Be prepared for this drive. It may only be 3 miles, BUT it is seriously rocky!! You have to go slow, so it takes about 15-20 minutes to get up the road.
By the time we got parked, got everything together, took potty breaks and everything, it was 7:30 when we started the hike. It was about 38 degrees outside. I wore a tank, workout leggings, and hiking boots (totally felt like a Colorado girl in my hiking boots…..but my ankles were thanking me the whole day for wearing them! TRUST ME! ). We packed a backpack (that Ben gets to wear….poor guy, lucky me) with a workout long sleeve zip up of mine, hoodie for each of us and wind breaker jackets, 2 protein bars, 2 large water bottles, 1 extra large jug of water, treats for Chase, his water bowl, and binoculars.
It is absolutely stunning from the beginning. Nothing looks real at all! There were so many other people on the trails. Older people, kids, dogs, families. It was nice. The whole way up you may pass some people, and then before you know it you are taking a break and they are passing you. You end up staying near the same people pretty much the whole way up going back and forth on who is in front because of all the breaks. I will tell you, I work out 5 days a week and on Saturdays we try and do something active, but I felt like I had not worked out in years!! It was so hard! BBG has nothing on this! We had also gone for a hike at Brainard Lake on Saturday, not sure if that had anything to do with it, but Gray’s was hard. Unfortunately, it is known as one of the easy ones!!!! CRAZY!
It took us about 4 hours to get to the top. The WHOLE way up people were coming down and saying “You’re almost there”. After about an hour of everyone saying that, you stop believing any of them. LOL. I appreciate the encouragement, but don’t lie to ya girl! 🙂 By the time we made it to the top I really expected bottles of champagne popping, a choir singing, people cheering – a HUGE celebration. But all I got was UNBELIEVABLE views and a lot of other tired/happy people around. The views made up for the disappointment of no champagne. Some guy did give Ben some bourbon. Why do guys always have bourbon on the mountains, but girls never have champagne? I may need to change that ASAP!
Anyway, the views were absolutely STUNNING!!! Like crazy stunning!! Worth every bit of whining I did on the way up. Right when we were getting to the top of Gray’s Peak, a guy coming down said “I wouldn’t stay long at all, there’s a storm coming in.” And as soon as we got to the top we saw the clouds, and the rain that was coming down not too far from us. So, we decided it would be smartest to head on down and not do Torrey’s. I will say I was so happy to see those clouds and know we couldn’t continue because this girl was TIRED! The way down…still a workout, but WAY easier. We got down in about 2 hours because we didn’t stop, other than to take layers of clothing off.
On the drive home Ben asked me if I thought it was fun. My body at that moment was too tired to think any of the torture I just put myself through was fun. My response was “What I do know is, it was pretty.” While hiking up Gray’s I definitely was thinking this was going to be my first and last 14er, BUT as of now we are planning on doing another one this Saturday. We’ll see if that pans out, but needless to say, Gray’s wasn’t my last.
What you should pack when hiking a 14er
- WATER, WATER, AND MORE WATER
- Layers. When you are in the sun it is hot, but when a cloud comes along it is cold.
- Wind breaker. The higher you get, the stronger the wind.
- Protein snacks. We took 2 protein bars, next time we will pack at least 4, or 2 protein bars and some nuts. The protein gives you the boost of energy that you need.
- Energy gel packs or some kind of natural energy supplement. You do not want to run out of energy because that is when mistakes can happen.
- Sun block. You are getting closer to the sun the higher you get, obviously. Take and wear sun block!
- Sunglasses. If you are hiking around a bunch of snow, the sun is going to bounce off of the snow and can burn your eyes, literally.
- Hiking boots. A lot of people were out there in sneakers, some in Teva sandals, but I will tell you walking on those unstable rocks, my ankles were thanking me and I had so much more grip on the rocks with my boots.
- Headlamp if you are going to be getting an early start.
Be smart when hiking 14ers
Always check the weather, hour by hour, for where you are going to be hiking. Remember that in the mountains, when you are that high up, the weather can change in a second and it can turn dangerous! If you see clouds coming in, no matter how far you have gone, start heading down. People die every year from lightning strikes up in the mountains.
Have you ever done a 14er? Or do you have places you love to hike? I’d love to hear all about it. Ben and I love checking out new places and things to do outside!
Thanks for checking out Case of the Fridays! You are amazing!! 🙂 Have an awesome weekend!