My Health & Fitness The Great Outdoors

Mount Bierstadt: First 14er and 7 Teachable Moments

During these past six months, I have rededicated myself to investing in my overall health and fitness: I have a monthly membership to a fitness center and have my own personal trainer, who trains me hard twice a week (hi, Brittany!). When it comes to my health and fitness, these days I am not merely working out for aesthetics: I also know that this time around, I am in it for the long haul, and that this is a lifestyle, not a hobby.

We started hiking Mount Bierstadt before dawn and got to enjoy seeing the sunrise on the mountains.
Along the trail towards Mount Bierstadt: look at the beautiful sunrise behind me!

So, what better way to test my endurance than to hike a 14er (if you had asked me this time last year about hiking a 14er, I would have promptly said, “No thank you!”). This is exactly what I did over this past weekend with Ryan.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “14er”, the term refers to mountain peaks that are 14,000 feet and higher, and Colorado boasts over fifty of them alone. These mountains vary in difficulty in terms of elevation, length of hike, and terrain.

Mount Bierstadt sits at 14,060 feet and is considered a Class 2 mountain to hike.
Mount Bierstadt in the afternoon, with storm clouds rolling in.

It was only last Thursday (July 5th) when Ryan and I decided to hike Mount Bierstadt, which sits at 14,060 feet and is considered a Class 2 mountain. Before this, we had only driven up Pikes Peak and Mount Evans, so Mount Bierstadt was going to be the first 14er for us to hike. I admit, I was a little nervous about hiking it, even though as Ryan researched about the mountain, he said that overall, other hikers seemed to think that the mountain was an ‘easy hike’. I read over a blog post by Laura Skladzinski at 50by25 about her experience with Mount Bierstadt, and the post helped me prepare mentally for the challenging parts of the climb.

The whole hike up and down Mount Bierstadt took us about 9.5 hours round-trip, for a total of 6.9 miles and 2,729 feet in elevation gain (we already started at about 11,000 feet at the trailhead). The trail is very popular among people of all fitness levels, including families–although I am not sure how many of these families made it to the summit. Needless to say, the whole hike exhausted us out, but we made it to the top with relatively no altitude sickness symptoms. Hoorah!

Anyhow, we did take away some lessons from the whole experience, which will be handy for those of you who are curious to try out a 14er in the future.

The Great Outdoors travel Who I Am

An Unexpected Trip Through the Mountains

A little trip away from San Francisco is always a welcome break. This past weekend, I went up to Reno, Nevada on a whim with family. It was my first time to go there, and the drive up was a bit spooky since we were driving through the mountains at night. Driving back down the next day, though, I was in awe watching the mountains loom overhead as we coasted down I-80.

Somehow, when I see mountains, I just feel at peace. Every time I go up to Montana (every few years or so), I just feel tranquility within myself as I gaze upon the Rocky Mountains. Perhaps I’m meant to be in the mountains, and perhaps that’s why I feel drawn to relocate next year.

My San Francisco Chronicles photography reflection The Great Outdoors

Sunset yesterday…

Through my windows last night, I could see this pink glow after the sunset, so I looked out and sure enough, the sky was pink and gorgeous. I could not help but feel amazed at the beauty of nature, even living here in the city.

My San Francisco Chronicles The Great Outdoors

Lands End Park in San Francisco

I wish I had brought my camera along with me today–went out walking with a new friend at Lands End Park in the Outer Richmond. The weather was gorgeous: sunny, a little breezy and chilly, but still perfect. There were so many great views at the park–just a lot of nature, a lot of the Pacific Coastline, etc. It made me appreciate San Francisco even more (not that I didn’t appreciate it before). A nice little corner of the city, tucked away and somewhat untouched by the metropolis feeling. I felt like I had traveled very far from the city…when in reality, I had only taken a busride across town.

Hoping to go back to the park soon again with camera in hand.