This past weekend I got to hike Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. The weather was definitely of some concern. Even though Leadville is about 3 hours away, with everything going on down here we thought we might run into some weather up there but it was absolutely perfect. We could not have asked for better weather.
The clouds were low and brushed around us creating beautiful views. The hike starts in the trees, where it begins its incline almost immediately. I mean, how else do you get to the top of the highest peak without an intense incline? :)
The incline actually starts off kind of nice but once you’re out of the trees, the incline increases and it feels like you are almost hiking up a complete vertical trail :P
We headed up Friday evening to set up camp near the trailhead, or so we thought (we found out the next morning we were about a mile from it). The next morning we woke up fairly early (~6 am), just before the sun was peaking its head out to say good morning.
Since we did not want to deal with the hassle of cooking we just had granola bars and apples to act in place of our breakfast and at the top we had salami, cheese, yogurt covered pretzels, and beer, of course :D Food at the top is definitely a motivation to keep moving! I was fantasizing about salami and cheese for about an hour before reaching the top.
The Apricot Blonde by Dry Dock Brewing seemed a good choice at the top- that counts for fruit intake, right? :D Though my Uncle, who typically hikes with me, was not there I could still hear him saying “I sure cannot wait to have myself a cold brewski.”
A big hike like this calls for a BIG celebration beer. My friend got three bombers for us to enjoy at the end of the hike. Though the Kremlin Crude Russian Imperial Stout by Beer Here (Denmark) was not consumed directly following the hike, it still felt like a victory beer.
This imperial stout was delicious; It was such an impressive beer with all the flavors involved. I could taste roasted malts, chocolate, coffee beans, and it had a definite smokiness. The smokiness was not too much though and did not linger. The slight sweetness from the chocolate and just the combination of all the flavors seemed to balance it well. Though it is 10% ABV, I felt that was unknown. Evident by the picture, it pours a deep brown and has a nice thick head.
Though this could not be a regular beer for me, it was really enjoyable and it is especially perfect for sipping on a rainy evening or cold winter day. I also felt it would be really good with some steak or ribs.
Elevation Gain: 4700′
Trip Length: 9 miles (Northeast Ridge)
Elevation: 14,433′ (highest peak in CO)
For those in the area looking for a way to help with the recent floods in Colorado, Star Bar (LoDo, Denver) is holding a Colorado Flood Relief Fundraiser tomorrow (Thursday). Check out the details here.
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~How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep by Bombay Bicycle Club
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