The Joy of a Strenuous Hike in the Colorado High Country
February 16, 2022
When you go hiking in the mountains of Colorado, you expect the hikes to be fairly strenuous. Unless you’re going on a relatively short hike, there is most likely going to be a significant change in elevation. After all, you’re in the mountains and if you’re going to go hiking, it isn’t going to be flat. With that said, some hikes are harder than others. We’ve hiked to top of Pikes Peak, which is a 12 mile (19 kilometer) hike one-way to the summit and an elevation gain of over 8,000 feet (or 2,500 meters) as well as hiked on trails with ledges that were only as wide as our feet. We’re definitely not rock climbers, but from time to time you have to do some boulder scrambling in order to reach some of the more remote locations when hiking.
The hike that we took during one of our trips to Breckenridge, Colorado, was one of those hikes. The interesting thing about hiking when you have to scale some rocks or go on the edge of some steep cliffs is that it is usually more unnerving going down than it is going up. When you’re going up the mountain, your focus is on the trail ahead of you and the reaching the top of whatever you’re scaling. When you’re heading down, you tend to see how steep things really are and that makes it a little bit more scary.
We almost turned around a couple of times during the hike, but the payoff at the end was worth the effort. As is often the case when you hike in Colorado, the views at the peak or the end of a trail are absolutely spectacular. This particular hike brought us to a gorgeous pond where we sat and ate a brief lunch while we watched the mountain goats relax on the boulders above us. It was just the two of us and nature, and it was one of the most tranquil and relaxing experiences that we’ve had hiking. Perhaps it was due to the lack of oxygen and exhaustion, but the beauty around us was almost euphoric.
Unfortunately all hikes must end and eventually you have to work your way back down and back to reality and to civilization. On our way back down, when we reached the spot where we had climbed up several boulders along a very steep cliff, we scooted ourselves down as opposed to walking, not wanting to tumble down into the ravine. Hearts pounding, once we were down from the boulders, it was back to a normal hike and we were able to once again enjoy that beauty that surrounded us. There truly isn’t anything like hiking in the mountains and totally immersing oneself in nature.