It had a Class 2 difficulty rating, so it is one of the easier 14ers and was within an hour drive of Denver in the Arapaho National Forest. We also had perfect weather!
We drove west on I-70 to Georgetown, CO and the up to Guanella Pass where the trailhead (Trail #711) is. It took less than an hour to get to the trail.
The drive to the trailhead was almost as awesome as the hike itself because the Aspen trees have changed to a vibrant yellow.
We started the hike at 11,669 feet. The hike goes through a bog and then continues up to the summit. The first 2.5 miles were very easy and enjoyable.
Lara and I started feeling the effects of higher elevations at approximately 13,000 feet, so we started slowing down and drank water frequently. We never felt sick, just got a bit of a headache and dizzy now and then. Jeff was never effected by the altitude.
At approximately 13,800 feet, the terrain gets a little rugged and is covered with boulders. It also got windy and was a little cold for Elle…. so Jeff tucked Elle into his sweatshirt like a kangaroo baby the rest of the way to the summit.
We finally reached the summit a few hours into our hike and started photo documenting proof that we made it to 14,060 feet!
The views were spectacular and we were so proud of ourselves! The clueless Midwestern “hikers” made it in one piece!We then turned around and went back down the mountain (duh). Stopping now and then to take a few more photos. The thought of beer waiting in our car pushed us along. We finished the hike and immediately drank a celebratory brew. Beers tastes that much better after a 7 mile hike and your first 14er!
We were pretty tired on our drive home, but the gorgeous yellow Aspens made it worth the drive. I love autumn in the mountains!
We are already plotting our next 14er…. which one should we do next!?