About a month ago we hiked to the top of Mt Royal in Frisco. It wasn’t long (5 miles round-trip) but it was straight up and straight down. After that hike Mark asked if we could refrain from doing any summits for awhile. He wanted a chance to get reacclimatized to the altitude and in better hiking shape before going straight up another mountain again. Then last week I got my sights set on a hike that was only a 20 minute drive from our camp. A 12 mile round trip summit to the top of Bison Peak with 4,000’+ in vertical gain. This is a hike that Mark & I attempted over 10 years ago but turned around only a couple of miles in due to lighting activity in the area. Ever since then this hike has been on my list and now that we could see the mountain from where we were camped, I had to do it.
I figured Mark would want no part of it so I was trying to figure out how I would 1) convince him that I’d be fine doing it solo and 2) convince myself that I would be fine doing it solo. But the moment I brought it up he agreed to go and at 8:30 this morning we were on the trail.
It was a long, slow, steep slog to the top. To be exact, we moved at about a mile per hour pace. I didn’t care how long it took, we did it and I was stoked about it. Now, to be honest, we didn’t technically make it to the very tip top of Bison Peak but for me it was close enough. We made it to the point where we were above treeline (one of my favorite things in the world) and we could see 360 degree views of Colorado. The giant boulders that create other-worldly formations on top of the mountain were an incredible sight to see and are unlike any other mountain I’ve been on in Colorado. It reminded me of the Dragoon Mountains in Arizona and the Alabama Hills in California, except these formations sit on top of a mountain at 12,000’.
We ate lunch, took in the views and then began the long descent back to the trailhead. Getting back to the car never felt so good. Getting home, taking off our shoes and lounging on the couch felt even better. We’re not sure the last time we tackled a hike of this distance and vertical gain. Possibly never, which makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.
I have no doubt we’ll be feeling it for the next few days but I think it’s safe to say that we’re well on our way to getting back in hiking shape again.