Some people climb metaphorical mountains. Other people climb literal mountains. Some people do both.
As it turns out, me, my husband, and my brother and sister-n-law are the type of people who do both.
It was a short trip, just an extended weekend. But it was beautiful, memorable, fun, challenging… all the things a good road trip should be.
We drove overnight, arriving in Colorado in the wee hours of the morning, continuing on to Georgetown to get a peek at the mountain we’d be climbing the next day. We had time time to kill before we could check into our hotel, so we decided to head to Rocky Mountain National Park. We saw elk, as you can see in the first photo up above.
and hiked 4 miles on a mountain trail, with a gorgeous waterfall with a small bridge crossing it. We stopped for a photo op.
The view from the trail:
these beautiful purple flowers were all along the trail.
We got up before dawn and headed out to Georgetown from our hotel in Granby. Goal: hike Mt. Bierstadt.
I took this one of the sunrise with one bright star hanging just above the mountaintops on our way there. My brother was gracious enough to pull off on the side of the road on a 180 degree turn for me to jump out of the car for this shot! lol (Thanks Shaun!)
Mt. Bierstadt and Sawtooth Ridge from the trailhead, about 6:00am.
From the Bierstadt trail:
The last big up to the summit – hand-over-foot scramble to the top! Almost at 14,000 ft here!
My husband looking out from the summit of Mt. Bierstadt at 14,030 ft-
Sitting on the edge!
Looking towards Mt. Evans from Mt. Bierstadt
This was the second mountain we climbed together. The first was on our honeymoon last year, in California (Mt. Tallac, 9,738 ft). That one beat me and I couldn’t make it to the summit, even though Chris could have… but I wasn’t going to allow that to happen again, and this one was easier for me than the first, despite the higher elevation. This time, we made it together. It was a moment of triumph!
Our Mt. Bierstadt hike was quite the adventure. Going up was challenging enough. But then my brother Shaun and husband Chris decided to cross Sawtooth – a very narrow ridge that stretches between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans – and either continue on to Mt. Evans, or circle back to the Bierstadt trailhead. My sister-in-law Melissa and I went back down the trail.
The trail was hard enough. We finished 8 miles round trip, and the descent had us both shaking, weak and I started to just trip over everything. We made it though, not too worse for wear, and were able to nap in the car waiting on the boys. Their trek was longer, so we knew they’d be a while behind us… we didn’t expect 3 hours behind us, though.
We started to get worried. We had absolutely zero cell reception and when we left the boys, they weren’t sure if they would continue to Mt. Evans after crossing Sawtooth, and have us drive over to pick them up, or meet us at the Bierstadt trailhead. Turns out that Sawtooth alone took them three hours and was not only a precarious trail, like they had thought, but actual rock climbing, like literal scaling. They had no equipment and couldn’t get a hold of us to tell us to meet them at Mt. Evans (they had a wee bit of reception on the top of Bierstadt and thought they’d be able to call us…. but WE didn’t have reception in the parking lot! Fail! Note: do NOT do this, ever. We were so stupid. We should have had walkie talkies with us and will never climb without them again if we split up our group! Lesson learned: Do not rely on your phone in the mountains.).
We were starting to get worried about the same time we saw them on the trail coming toward the car. Thank goodness! The boys were physically wrecked, and to be fair, I’ve never seen either of them like that before. It was a little scary but I was SO PROUD of them. They kicked ass.
So we got some pizza in Georgetown from this little place Melissa wanted to stop at, and took it back to our hotel in Granby. After showers and a movie, we all passed out.
We headed south to check out Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs.
Pikes Peak from Garden of the Gods:
The crew, with Pikes Peak in the background:
Shaun and Melissa:
my husband Chris:
a cactus blossom along one of the short trails at Garden of the Gods:
Shaun and I were able to recreate a photo from our first trip here in 1993!
Us at 13 (me) and 12 (him):
and us a few years later 😉
After we browsed Manitou Springs, we drove overnight back to Missouri. It was a super quick trip (too quick!) without enough time to do everything we would have liked to. Our main focus of the trip was climbing Mt. Bierstadt, which was a heck of a journey and I’m so pumped that we did, but as vacations usually go, it went too fast!
I’m already looking forward to our next adventure!