| Missouri and Bierstadt?
You may be wondering why I did Missouri and Bierstadt, yes I know random combination, but all that will be explained.
The original plan was to head out Monday morning the 5th and hike Missouri Mountain, via Missouri Gulch. Then, camp that night and do Belford on Tuesday the 6th. Yes I know only Belford not Oxford, but that is because we needed to be back in Denver by 5:00 at the absolute latest to help set up for a volleyball camp, and we didn't want to risk timing. So anyways my friend Becca, a lowlander from Arizona, and I headed out of Lakewood at about 3:30 in the morning on Monday and arrived at the trailhead at 5:45. We were on the trail by 6:00. Missouri went fine, just as planned. We hiked up the switchbacks and through the long valley and to the summit via the ridge, summitting at around 9:30.
At Missouri's summit. 14er number 14!
By the way, this trail was probably the most round about way I have hiked to get to a summit. This was probably the most pleasant summit I have been on. There was no wind it was bright, sunny, and warm and I definitely did not need a jacket. So we are heading down and we see the clouds coming in over the summit, when we are a good distance from the summit, about halfway down the valley. All I could think of was that new song Pompeii by Bastille. It goes "grey clouds roll over the hills bringing darkness from above". So I ended up singing it most of the way down.
Clouds over Missouri
We got back to the trailhead at about 12:30 right about then it started to rain on us. This is where Bierstadt comes in.
We were sitting in the car, in the rain, trying to figure out where to set up camp. Better planning would have been to set up somewhere on the trail to avoid doing the switchbacks twice. So Becca has only ever hiked Pikes Peak and Grays, so Missouri was a new challenge for her. She got into Denver on Sunday and we hiked Monday, Missouri ended up wiping her out pretty good. We could see the very steep trail of Belford on our hike that we would need to climb the next day, had we decided to stick with that route. But we didn't. She wanted to do something easier so she suggested maybe Torreys or something closer to Denver. I have done all the close ones so I was trying to think of another option, besides I drive a Toyota Camry and that thing would not have made it up the road to Grays and Torreys. Then I realized, I have never done a sunrise hike. So I suggested that we do a sunrise hike of Bierstadt. To me it was the easiest one I have done, and it is a lot closer to Denver so timing would not be an issue, and Becca would be able to do it.
So we head out for Georgetown. Here comes a fun little bonus. We were heading out on the dirt road and all of a sudden I smell something bad and I mean really bad. I pull over and open the back door to find that my dog, Holly, had gotten sick. She managed to throw up half in a bag and half on the floor, so our goldfish and wheat thins were ruined, and I was really looking forward to those. We cleaned out the back as best as we could. While cleaning, a car stopped to see if we needed help. Once we told them the issue, they took back their offer. They did say they would have helped if it was a flat tire.
Good old Holly not sick anymore.
After all of that we drive to Georgetown and head up the pass. We ended up camping off of the road, a little bit below tree line. We killed some time took some pictures, played some poker, ate some Nutella. There were some fancy flowers.
We then headed off to bed at about 7:00, since we would be getting up at 3:30. Surprisingly we both fell asleep almost immediately. We got up at 3:30 put on our shoes and drove about a mile to the trailhead. First time in my life I was the first in the parking lot. We got on the trail at 4:00 and started heading up. It's nice hiking in the dark because you don't know how far you have left to go. You also never know how much you appreciate the piles of rocks indicating the trail until you do a hike in the dark, they saved me more than once. We summitted right at 6:00, it took us a little longer on the rocks because Holly had a tough time getting the right footing. But it was just at the right timing to see the sun come up and get some cool pictures.
My first sunrise 14er.
Becca's first sunrise and first time up Bierstadt.
It was nice to be the first people on the summit that day. We headed down after about 10 minutes of pictures because it was pretty chilly on the top. Again, the dog had a tough time on the rocks so it was slow going down those. Beyond that we headed down without stopping. I ran, and also skipped, ahead of Becca and Holly, and made it down at 7:45. They came in about 20 minutes later. I do have to admit it is pretty sweet to be done with a 14er before a lot of people have even woken up.
Even so, I was not the first one down the mountain. I got passed by one of those guys that can you know run up and down mountains like it's nothing. Different view of the parking lot though, as it was packed when I got down. At first there was one, then there were a lot.
So here I am writing this wondering when I am going to conquer Belford and Oxford.
P.S. Elbert, the dinosaur, made it to the top of both. (He is named after Mt. Elbert because that is the first one he did).
Elbert on top of Missouri
On top of Bierstadt.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):