Monday, September 9, 2013

Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross

Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross

Sunday I was up early again for a pickup at 4:45 to head out and do some hiking (actually walking!). We had a group of 4 guys and 1 girl going up in a little Subaru Outback that I later found out a guy got for free. On the way up, just before we got to Breckenridge, on a totally straight road with no turnoffs, the car in front of us randomly turned on his turning signal and stomped on the brakes. Being totally without warning we ended up hitting him (really lightly though, there wasn't even a scratch on his car). Our driver hopped out of the car said sorry and the whole deal. The other guy climbed out of the car still smoking and was noticeably extremely high. He saw there was no aesthetic damage, said nothing, gave us a thumbs up and got back in his car and drove away. Weird.

The parking lot for the climb up to Democrat/Cameron is literally the base of the climb. There is no lead-up at all, even from the free parking area. I'll keep this short because the hike was relatively dull, especially for 14ers. We took longer than expected, but it ended up being not too big of a deal, the faster sub-group of us just ended up lounging about in some grassy meadows while we waited for the others. Walking also was a nice change of pace, although I did jealously watch a few other runners pass by. Pictures tell the rest!
Breaking on the initial climb to the saddle between Democrat and Cameron
Saddle - Democrat out of sight on left, Cameron right
Scattered member of group on Democrat Summit
Myself and the guy in the yellow shirt decided after this first summit that the pace was too slow, and we agreed that we would power through the four while others did two or three. We had another guy eventually catch back up later Lincoln. No pictures from the top of Cameron, its the most anti-climatic summit imaginable, small gravel, no big rocks no nothing. We didn't even stop!
Group of the three of us that finished all 4 on top of Lincoln
Lincoln was easily the coolest of the summits, though still not too exciting compare to many summits (even the 12er I did yesterday).
The traverse over to Bross was equally "oatmeal"
Bross another relatively boring summit
The most fun part came descending a super graveling ridge back to the parking lot. It was basically surfing on dirt and rocks. You could slide 10 to 20 ft without stopping (because you couldn't stop). There was tons of dirt and gravel and it felt really stable the whole time. What a blast!
Hard to see here, but the trail itself is full of deep dry dirt and small gravel
The other two behind us (it was the girl's first 14er(s) ever) weren't as comfortable "dirt surfing" down so us three lied down in some grass and enjoyed the mountains for a bit while we waited.
Really pretty area in the valley that the summits surround
I also took this time to try some barefoot hiking! It was fun and challenging. Once the others rejoined us I ended up barefooting the rest of the way to the car (see far left pic above, last car in the lot). Overall, these weren't too exciting, however I think they would really fun to run. There is a great initial climb, then it gives you 500 foot-ish descents and ascents between the rest which would be pretty fun in my opinion. Maybe I'l be back to run them some day.

Random ramblings on mountain adventures:

  1. It was really fun to enjoy the mountains with my friends, but I realized that one of the things I like most about going alone is the solitude. Being in college, there are always loud parties, new friends and other craziness. To me one of the nicest things is to just take a break from all of that and be alone somewhere beautiful, serene and silent. Silence so quiet that your breathing is loud is the coolest thing.
  2. What I like about running these things is that it sucks. The exhausting suffering is the best medicine for your brain. I don't think I've ever "maxed out" myself, but the ability to push through suffering is one skill that I would love to have total control over.
  3. Just because a mountain is a 14er doesn't make it more fun than any 13er, 12er, 11er or anything else. I was happy to add these summits to my collection, but they weren't necessarily super fun. Even Mt Sanitas here in Boulder has more varied and prettier terrain and it only gets to something like 7,000ft. I really think that the concept of a 14er gets blown up too big sometimes. Sure its cool to try and "collect" them; but if you are looking for a better experience, being a 14er is not immediate qualification as a spectacular mountain.
  4. One never "wins" on a mountain (or nature for that matter). You don't conquer it, you don't defeat it. These things have lasted for thousands of years, and they will always be bigger and better than any person. Its the dealer always wins scenario. 
Ok, so maybe I went full Boulder-hippy there but being in the mountains for almost 25 hours this weekend gave me a lot of thinking time.

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