After church on Sunday, Doris H. said to me, “I think it’s about time you climbed that mountain.” My thoughts exactly, Doris!
Okay, so you may remember that waaaaay back around the New Year, I made it my goal to climb a mountain. Well, I would say I’m about half-way there in terms of my training. I’ve lost some weight, which I know will help, but I still have a way to go. My cardio is better than it’s been in a long time. I can run a full mile now, and my best time is 10:10, which is not all that incredible, but for me it’s a major achievement.
But to summit a 14er, which was my original goal, may or may not happen in this trip. Colorado has many, many peaks, and some of those top 14,000 feet. It appears that Mt. Elbert tops the list, around 14,440 feet. But you have to understand that when you climb a mountain, it’s not like you start from 0 feet. Denver itself is known as the mile-high city because it is–a mile high. So you’re already starting over 5,000 feet. And then to drive to the trailheads for some of these climbs, you’re much higher than that.
The easiest mountain to climb, which I had my eye on is Mt. Bierstadt. The out and back hike is around 3-4 hours, and the elevation gain is minimal. However, where we are right now is quite far from that peak. The peak we’re closest to is Mt. Sopris, a beautiful mountain that sits at the edge of Colorado farmland.
The problem with this hike is that a) the road can be difficult to manage if there’s been rain (and it’s raining right now), b) the hike is long–about 10 miles up and back, and c) please see b and note that this hike usually takes 8-9 hours.
So I guess I’m going to have to define the words “climb” and “mountain” in order to achieve my goal. In my mind a true “mountain” is a 14er. However, my middle brother, Gary, just returned from Nepal and he said they scoff at our American “mountains” with the Himalayas in their backyard. So it’s all relative, right?
I found a hike that I think looks interesting. It’s called Red Hill, and it overlooks the town of Carbondale.
The other option is to start the hike with Jacob but just be okay with not summiting. That’s still climbing, right? The thing is, no matter how much I might like to sport that “Colorado Native” bumper sticker, my lungs are pure Mid western flat landers. Chicago’s elevation is 594 feet–a far cry from the 6,000 or 7,000 start of the climb around here. My lungs just can’t adjust this quickly. I tried to “run” this afternoon. I got .19 mile and about had a coronary. Granted, the road was going uphill. But still.
I remember having a conversation with my older brother David about how his Nike Fuel allows him to earn more points at a higher elevation. So I looked it up. Turns out that while being at a higher elevation does make your lungs and diaphragm work harder, your body overall isn’t burning more calories. But hey, if being in a beautiful place where you can’t help but take interesting and challenging hikes makes you get off the couch more, maybe being at this particular altitude is a good thing.
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted, since I know you’re all on pins and needles awaiting my mountain journey! 🙂
You really can’t go wrong with a crumb cake–especially at our fellowship hour, for which Karen baked this marvelous looking treat. Thank you, Karen!