This weekend - with the help of APL, my best friend LK, and, of course, River - I made it to the top of my first 14er!!
For those of you who don't live in Colorado - where the word "14er" (fourteener) is pretty much part of the everyday lexicon - a 14er is a mountain who's summit exceeds 14,000 feet in altitude. There are 547 14ers in the world, and 54 of them are in Colorado. Hiking 14ers is a big deal here in Colorado - people try to collect them all.
To be fair, my first (and probably only) 14er was Mount Evans. This means that, thanks to the highest paved road in North America, we were able to drive up to 14,130 feet. Then we hiked about half a mile of switchbacks up to the summit, which measures 14,258 feet (making it #13 in height out of the 54 14ers in Colorado).
I realize that hiking only half a mile and gaining only 128 feet of elevation may not sound like that much of an accomplishment. But, at 14,000+ feet above sea level, any sort of exertion can be difficult, particularly since we drove most of the way so we had less time to adjust to the altitude.
This was also way higher than I had ever been before - my previous high was probably the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is at about 12,000 feet. But I've also had trouble with altitude - headaches, nausea, etc. - at as low as 10,000 feet. So I wasn't sure how I would fare at 14,000+ feet.
But, by going slow and stopping often to rest, I made it to the top! And, silly an accomplishment as it may seem considering I only hiked half a mile to get there, I am super proud of myself!
P.S. The picture, in case you can't tell, is all of our feet around the USGS geologic marker at the top of Mount Evans! It proves we were there!