The road to 14,000 feet.

My new goal has been to do my first 14,000 feet or “14er” this year instead of next year. Today was really the first real training day for overall distance. Me and my cousin Dan hiked nearly 8 miles at Walker Ranch Loop. We did it for two reasons, we wanted to hike, but also to see if I could make the actual distance without spending all day there.

 

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The trail was really nice, it had lots of elevation changes with big fields, and other parts with tons of trees and a river. I stopped to take a few pictures like I do on every trail run we go on.

 

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I did eventually make it through the whole thing, but it was definitely the hardest hike I’ve had to do, and the last two miles for me was brutal. Almost all of the last part was all up hill and by that time, the sun was blaring down at us at a hot 80 degrees. To be fair, that’s not actually that hot, especially compared to Louisiana because we have no humidity, but because of the elevation we’re much closer to the sun, so it just plainly gets really hot when the sun is out, it’s almost like you’re getting a sun burn just being in it. I’d still take it over Louisiana, but it hindered me at that point quite a bit. It was to the point where I was REALLY close to passing out. I sat down for a few minutes and took a rest and was able to recover, but at that point my body had decided it had enough and gave me a big fat middle finger and a NOPE to go with it. That last mile and half was really hard.

 

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By the time we got to the top it was totally worth the trip, we spent some time on a bench for a few minutes to enjoy the view, and because we were so close to the end and especially when we saw the car parked we ran the rest of the way down. The picture above is at the top of mountain, it really doesn’t do it justice, and we had a really clear day so the haze was almost non existent.

As hard as it was, I did end up breaking several of my own records. Our total elevation was 7,359 feet. Most of that was driving, but we climbed some 1992 feet during the hike.

 

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Doing this proved that I could do it, although it was really hard, and so far every time I’ve gone hiking I’ve learned something NOT to do every single time. To say you have to be in shape to do something like this is an understatement, despite all of the work I’ve put into exercising and training over the last few months it was still tough. Especially with the Cystic Fibrosis, the last couple of miles my heart was beating out of my chest  going uphill, and my lungs were hurting pretty bad and although that sounds terrible, it’s not something I’m not used to it just takes me a bit longer to get where I want to go. If I hadn’t been in shape though, I most definitely couldn’t have done it.

That being said, I’m more than capable to take on my next challenge after another hike or two. Mount Bierstadt. A 14,000 foot monster. It’s a relatively easy hike compared to some of the others at the same elevation but I’ve proven that I can get there this year. The others I want to do are out of my scope until next year.