August 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
photo: Mt. Quandary (http://tlmathews.com/blog)
Some weeks I do lead me to other things I’d like to try. Last week I went on some beautiful hikes in the foothills and in the mountains, admiring the still snow-tipped peaks from afar. While they’re beautiful to look at from afar, you can’t help but wonder what everything must look like from up there. It would truly be seeing Colorado from a different perspective.
Mountains have always infatuated me from afar. In the Summer of 2000, I spent 2 1/2 months in India and Nepal traveling. I didn’t venture out on any serious mountain treks, but I did take a flight from Kathmandu to see Mt. Everest. It was monsoon season that time of year, so it was the only way to see the infamous peak other than climbing it. I didn’t have any illusions I would ever be be climbing it much less making it back that way, so I wanted to at least get to see it with my own two eyes.
While our tallest peaks are half the size, known as “Fourteeners”, they still provide a dramatic backdrop to the plains and a formidable challenge. There are a total of 53 peaks above 14,000 feet in Colorado representing a wide range of difficulty. The youngest person to climb all of them was Megan Emmons, in 1997 at age 7! My 6-year old nephew loves to declare that girls do boring stuff, so I’ll have to be sure to share this with him.
I don’t plan on climbing all of the Fourteeners this week, but I’m hoping to try a couple of the easiest ones. Mt. Bierstadt is only an hour away from Boulder and considered one of the best to try first. I’m also hoping to try Mt. Quandary with friends this coming weekend. To start off, I’m planning a visit to the most famous of the Colorado peaks, Pikes Peak, (by car) to take in the view. It’ll give me an idea of what I’m up against in terms of the height.
My one fear is that my intense fear of heights will paralyze me at various points along the way. I supposed I’ll keep Sir Edmund Hillary’s words of wisdom in the back of my head “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”