Summer is finally here in full swing and the snow is *almost* all melted off the Collegiate Peaks. I have been anxiously waiting for this time, when the snow is melted and the Spring storms have calmed down a little. It’s the perfect time to attempt to climb a 14er! I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and turned climbing Mt. Yale into a weekend adventure.
Even though Buena Vista is very well known for whitewater rafting, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and fishing on the Arkansas River, I love hiking. This month I’ll share with you what a land lover does on her days off.
- Climb a 14er! Climbing a mountain over 14,000 feet high, affectionately called a 14er, is absolutely worth the effort, the early wake up call, and the views. Our very own Chaffee County has the highest concentration of 14ers in Colorado. Finally, after living here a year, I attempted my first one! Mt. Yale – it’s actually within sight of A Riverhouse Lodge, and listed as a Class 2 climb on www.14ers.com , so I thought it was be a healthy challenge to start with. Yale was definitely challenging! It was significantly harder and steeper than I thought! I’m excited to get back out there and try a slightly easier peak next time. If you want to climb a 14er, please prepare! Do your research; become familiar with the route; watch the weather; pack enough food and water for a long, hard day; and help your body adjust to the elevation, descending if needed.
- Camp out and explore Cottonwood Lake. Cottonwood Lake sits at 9,552 feet and is a beautiful place to go to get out of the hustle and bustle of town for a while. It’s a great place to soak in the mountain views, go for a walk, ride a 4-wheeler, and sleep out under the stars.
- Soak in the hot springs. Even as a local, the hot springs never get old! I try to go as much as I can. Especially after a hard hike like Mt. Yale, the hot springs do wonders for the body. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and Cottonwood Hot Springs are both a quick drive from Downtown Buena Vista, and each offers a unique experience. I even got to see a family of big horned sheep, adults and young ones, wandering around just above the Cottonwood Hot Springs.
Climbing a 14er is great way to experience Buena Vista and Chaffee County. I got to meet such an amazing and diverse group of people out on the trail, all with the same goal of summiting Mt. Yale. I also got to see a variety of wildlife, and a whole new perspective of the Collegiate Peaks and the Sawatch Range. If summiting a 14er is on your bucket list, I hope you make it happen this summer.
I’m looking forward to more adventures in August!
Until next time,