You’ve probably noticed a trend this summer of posts on fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet) as the husband tries to rack up his total. And though I swore I had checked it off my list once and wouldn’t need to repeat the endeavor, he managed to convince me to give it another go.
So on a beautiful morning, we headed off to hike Mt. Sherman – on our way encountering the greatest beaver colony ever.
We didn’t see much wildlife other than a few pica (the one above was particularly friendly) and a marmot. But our timing could not have been better in terms of the weather – when we started off, it was a beautiful clear morning and as we hiked the clouds started to roll in. We made it back to our car just as the first drops of rain started to fall and I said a grateful prayer that we didn’t get snowed on again like we did on our last 14er!
Thanks to the cooperative weather conditions, we were able to spend a longer amount of time sitting at the summit. We packed sandwiches and fruit and had a little picnic lunch, overlooking Colorado for miles and miles. I really enjoy how the high vantage point gives you a good sense of orientation for how the state is laid out, we were able to see Leadville to the west and Fairplay to the east, plus other 14ers Cory has climbed and roads we’ve driven to Breckenridge and Buena Vista. I am super thankful for all the exploring we’ve done this summer!
It was really interesting to see all the ruins of the old Hilltop Mine that left buildings scattered along the trail. I can imagine that was a hard, hard life – lugging all this equipment up to 13,000 feet or so, then mining in some pretty tough conditions. And now all that’s left is some piles of wood and steel.
Actually, I’m pretty amazed how long it’s all survived, considering they stopped mining Mt. Sherman over 100 years ago. That’s a lot of high-altitude winters to weather.
Overall, it was a really good hike. Mt. Sherman is a class two (as opposed to Beirstadt, my first 14er, a class one) and I definitely noticed a difference between them. Although the physical exertion was about the same, there were some steeper sections, both on the trail and off to either side – on Beirstadt there really wasn’t an opportunity for you to do much falling down cliffs and such, but Sherman had some (relatively) more precarious ridges.
I think climbing 14ers is one of those things that gives you enough endorphins at the finish line to forget how exhausting/painful it can be – because even though it’s a lot a work, it really is worth it in the end. For the stunning views, the feeling of accomplishment, not to mention the excellent workout!
But let’s face it, I mostly do it because I’m allowed to carry my camera.