No where on earth calms me like the mountains. As cliché as it sounds, I feel the most at peace out in nature. No time restraints, obligations, or worries. The stresses of the modern world and the pressure of society seems to melt away as I am faced with nothing but the phenomena of the physical world and all its creations. This planet, its ecology, and everything that is so much bigger than our “civilized” world we often get stuck in. I try to go outside as much as possible. I am lucky that I mainly work outside with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, but even on my days off you will find me at the nearest trail head. I feel grateful for the opportunity to have grown up in Colorado where we have some of the most scenic and breath taking environments.
I love the physical and mental challenges that arise while climbing mountains. Not only is it physically difficult to constantly train my body and test my limits but it is also a mental test. I crave the accomplishment I feel after finishing a new peak or beating my trail time when I’m alone. Don’t get me wrong, when I am with friends or family I love to relax and take my time soaking in the views and experiences. Spending time outdoors for me is never a competition or a stressor, it’s my saving grace. I love that I can feel both completely isolated from the world and completely immersed in it. Pretty much everything written by John Muir sums up my feelings on being outdoors.
My most recent trip to the mountains was to hike a CO 14er, Mount Bierstadt. This was my fourth 14er and my favorite yet. The trail was one of the most aesthetic I’d ever experienced. If you ever decide to hike a 14er, I always suggest leaving in the morning. We left Boulder at 4:20a.m. to reach the trail head and begin around sunrise at 6a.m. My favorite part of hiking is starting at dawn and watching the sunrise as the morning clouds roll across the valley. On your way back down, your original starting point looks completely different in the afternoon sunlight and you can experience the beauty of two different settings. Mount Bierstadt was a mild hike in the beginning, a scenic trail that progressively became more challenging with altitude and increasing incline. At the top of the mountain, the trail became pretty rocky as we scaled our way to 14,060 ft. Overall, if you are an experienced hiker or just starting out I would recommend Bierstadt as a “to do” 14er in Colorado. Whether you finish the entire trail or just climb to the top of the valley, this scenic route is the epitome of Colorado beauty.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir,