Tried to drive up Mt Evans. I couldn't exactly drive through Colorado without doing a fourteener. But they'd closed the road after the long weekend. Walking 4 miles up a bitumen road to get to a summit didn't seem all that appealing, so I drove on, and stopped at the visitor center in Georgetown.
Was assured that I could go and do Mt Bierstadt, I'd just need a hat and a big bottle of water. That sounded a little optimistic for me, but I drove off up the guanella road to go and find out. I packed thermals, plenty of food, plenty of water, gloves, parka, and beanie.
Water and a hat was probably sufficient. The jacket was nice, but I was car to car in 4 hours. Far far easier than Mt Shasta, my only prior fourteener. Barely even felt the elevation. On Shasta I was struggling a lot more. Perhaps a month spent on the high plains of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota had prepared me a bit better than months living at sea level in san jose had done.
Met a lovely couple from Denver. They had just gotten engaged, and she had moved from Florida, and was out walking for the first time. She was a bit concerned as to how she was going to get down, but she'd made it up, and was both exhausted and ecstatic that she'd made it.
Walked down, and started burning south through farmland, golden aspens, small ranges, more farmland, to Royal Gorge. Checked out the bridge, which is neat, yet also stupid. Built in the 30s, and serving only as a detour off the highway. It goes nowhere, just over the gorge and back to the highway again. Bigger, Better, Faster I guess.
Drove through more impressive looking canyons in the dark, pulling into Great Sand Dunes NM. Which is another story for another day
Summit Lake, Mt Evans Road
Mt Bierstadt vegetation
Lakelets at the base of Mt Bierstadt
Monster Cairn, looking West from Mt Bierstadt