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First Day of Marital Torture

I jokingly got it into Katie's head that the first hike we do together as a married couple should be a 14er. I'm always down to do hard hikes but I meant this as nothing more than a joke since the focus of this trip was a wedding day hike. But she took it to heart and we did it despite being exhausted from the wedding hike the day before. We went to bed at a modest 7 pm both because we were unbelievably tired from waking up at 2 am that morning and also so we could get up at 5 am the following morning to climb Mount Bierstadt.

Often referred to as the easiest of Colorado's 14'ers, Mount Bierstadt is not an easy hike. None of Coloradon's 56 peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation gain are. But this distance and elevation gain isn't anything harder than hikes we've done in the past so we gave it a shot. The difficulty came from the fact that we had hiked the day prior and didn't get much sleep.

We arrived at the parking lot around 6:30 am and the parking lot was already full. We were able to park alongside the road without adding too much extra distance to our hike. We got going and started the torture. The weather was fantastic and we summited Mount Bierstadt after 3 hours. Surprisingly, the summit had calm winds on the East-facing slope, which made for a fantastic place to sit and eat a peanut butter and jelly wrap to refuel before heading back down.

Even though this hike was right in the same area as our wedding day hike, Mount Bierstadt had lots more wildflowers on it. We got plenty for our wedding but it was incredibly breathtaking how many wildflowers were covering the Mount Bierstadt area. We spent a lot of time photographing the wildflowers.

Mount Bierstadt, unlike our wedding hike, was busy. We started the hike early, but there were already several dozens of people on the trail when we arrived. Katie and I don't like this kind of hiking, and the crowds on this trail are a symptom of it being Coloradon's easiest 14'er. People climb this to say they've done a 14'er but we're not interested in achieving those bragging rights - we hike to enjoy nature, get good views, and have the area mean something special to us knowing that not many people witness the same beauty. But we did it anyway because as Coloradoans, climbing a 14'er is a right of passage and something we needed to get marked off Katie's bucket list. But after being reminded of how busy 14'ers are, I think we'll stick to the more secluded 13'er hikes which have similarly incredible views but without the people.

This hike had 2 moose sightings on it. The first moose was on the side of the road as we drove up. We think, although have no way of knowing for sure, that this was the same moose we saw while driving up to our wedding day hike since it looked similar and was in (we think) the exact same spot. The second moose sighting came in the last half-mile of the hike at the lake near the parking lot. I have carried my big and heavy telephoto lens with me on every hike since I got it and this is the first time that we've seen wildlife cool enough for me to use it. The moose was in the middle of the lake dipping its head down to eat off the bottom of the lake. It was quite far from us, but the telephoto lens did a great job of capturing this magnificent creature.

Summiting a 14er is our 2024 New Year's Resolution, despite it being 2023 and us still needing to complete our 2023 goal. We wanted to make hiking a 14er our goal for 2023, but with the wedding and our Icelandic honeymoon, we had a lot going on during the prime 14er hiking season that we didn't want to give ourselves an unrealistic goal. There's a pretty small window of time that 14ers can safely be hiked; it can't be too early in the summer when thunderstorms are too unpredictable, and it can't be too late because the first snow on a 14er could be mid-August. Now we just need to keep working towards our 2023 goal of beating our highest 2022 statistics by 15%. More on that goal is in this blog post.

Trailhead Location
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7.97 mi 5.5 hrs 14,065 ft 2,805 ft
View Graph
Morning Light
Through the Willows
Married in Nature
Alpine Avens
New Flower
The Grueling Trail
Wedding Ring
Our First 14er Together
Summit Panorama
Survey Marker
In the Grass
Alpine Springbeauty
Patches of Clouds
Western Yellow Indian Paintbrush
Whipple Penstemon
Stickign out of the Water
Tall Moose
Moose in the Lake