Perhaps it was a our desire to breathe some fresh mountain air that brought us back to Mount Bierstadt this late September Sunday. Or maybe it filled a longing to see some of the early signs of fall in the form of brown and gold crackling under our feet. Undeniably, we couldn’t withhold the unfaltering desire to stand atop 14,000 feet once more this season before our path was hidden in the deep blankets of white that comes too quickly as the days shorten in Colorado. This was a special trip to the top of Mt. Bierstadt. Our friends Liz and Maggie were attempting their very first 14er. A little more than a year ago from the time of this trip, we were making our first climb of this mountain. Since then, we have climbed over 36,502 vertical feet  and 92.42 miles (that’s just the documented stats) plus numerous lovely day climbs and hikes.While we have offered trip reports of this hike/climb in the past, we would like to simply share our climbing experience through a collection of photographs today.

 

Fresh legs and bright sunlight accompany us through the willows. A light morning breeze and cool temperatures remind us that winter is coming.
Fresh legs and bright sunlight accompany us through the willows. A light morning breeze and cool temperatures remind us that winter is coming.

 

We pause briefly after a short climb to enjoy a glance back to the "dreaded" willows hoping to catch a glimpse of  moose wading in the nearby pond. The sun inches higher in the sky each minute reminding us to keep moving.
We pause briefly after a short climb to enjoy a glance back to the “dreaded” willows hoping to catch a glimpse of moose wading in the nearby pond. The sun inches higher in the sky each minute reminding us to keep moving.

 

As we ascend, the landscape begins to change. The shift in perspective motivates us to continue.
As we ascend, the landscape begins to change. The shift in perspective motivates us to continue.

 

The famous or infamous sawtooth greets us with her sharp edges. We enjoy a break as she tempts us in the background.
The famous or infamous sawtooth greets us with her sharp edges. We enjoy a break as she tempts us in the background.

 

The trail gradually begins to steepen here, in perfect sync with the thinning air. It helps to pick a point and make it there. Or sing a song. Perhaps in your head. Oxygen choices. ...
The trail gradually begins to steepen here, in perfect sync with the thinning air. It helps to pick a point and make it there. Or sing a song. Perhaps in your head. You know, oxygen choices…

 

The final pitch to the summit is before us. From here on up, the path is less defined. We enjoyed a class 2 jaunt to the summit, weaving in and out of a strong, solid boulders.
The final pitch to the summit is before us. From here on up, the path is less defined. We enjoy a class 2 jaunt to the summit, weaving in and out of a strong, solid boulders.

 

As we make our finals steps to reach 14,060 ft, we are once again greeted with a thick cloud of cold.
As we make our final steps to reach 14,060 ft, we are once again greeted with a thick cloud of cold.

 

The cloud ominously comes towards us, urging us to skip lunch and get our summit photographs fast.
The cloud ominously comes towards us, urging us to skip lunch and get our summit photographs fast.

 

 

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 A friendly fellow on the summit offers to take a group photo. He is enjoying being very high in every sense of the word.
A friendly fellow on the summit offers to take a group photo. He is enjoying being very high in every sense of the word.

 

We ponder the meaning of life a few more moments as we overlook the sawtooth. Next time, we say. And we mean it.
We ponder the meaning of life a few more moments as we overlook the sawtooth. Next time, we say. And we mean it.

 

We begin our downclimb and brace our knees for the loose scree. Our hearts may thank us put our legs do not.
We begin our downclimb and brace our knees for the loose scree. Our hearts may thank us, but our legs do not.

 

 

As we descend, the fall hues of the willows sharpen our senses and bring us back to life.
As we descend, the fall hues of the willows sharpen our senses and bring us back to life.

 

The long road ahead to reach the car awaits us. The path feels never ending to our tired sore legs and feet.  The road to the magnificent is rarely short or easy.
The long road ahead to reach the car awaits us. The path feels never ending to our tired sore legs and feet. The road to the magnificent is rarely short or easy.

*Photography by Thomas Checkley

*Narrative by Allyson Sandifer Checkley

 

We concluded the hike in the light rain. Just as we reached the car, it fell upon us in full force, sometimes as liquid other times in frozen sheets. No matter the mountain or the difficulty a climb is a challenge. We each accepted and completed our individual challenges during this trek. Until next time….Take a Walk 😉

4 thoughts on “Mt. Bierstadt: A photo essay

  1. Lovely figurative language accompanies breathtaking photos!
    A quote perhaps for the back of your first book on hiking Colorado!

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