After hiking Mt. Rainier (and training for so long) I was more than okay with a pretty long gap before doing any more 14ers!
Finally we got motivated enough to go tackle another one! We had planned to do Pike’s Peak, but at the last minute Natalie reminded us that the Pike’s peak marathon was that weekend. The trail we wanted to do would still be open, but we were afraid the summit might be super crowded. Plus with only 1 of the 2 trails open to hikers, we were afraid even the trail itself would be packed. So we decided to hold off on Pike’s Peak for another time. (This same thing happend to use back in 2015 and postponed our plans, but that time with the car race on Pike’s Peak…)
So at the last minute we were scrambling to come up with a different 14er to do. We were in search of one with similar stats (miles of the hike, elevation gain, and distance from home), and so we ended up coming up with Mt. Columbia.
When we arrived at the parking lot at about 3am we were surprised to see the parking lot packed. However when we continued our hike we became even more and more confused, where was everyone? About part way while struggling up this MISERABLY steep loose wall of loose scree, we looked at the trip description online and saw this message: “The trail above tree line is in rough shape but the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) will be re-routing it between 2017 and 2019. Once the changes are complete, this route description will be updated”.
We then later noticed that there were tons of people working on building another trail that looked like it was going to be a million times nicer than the one we suffered through. So now it all made sense. 1. why there were so many cars already there so early and yet hardly anyone on the trail, 2. why the trail we were on was so terrible.
This was by far the worst “trail” I have ever hiked on. Getting up we were on all fours at places because it was so steep and loose. Coming down was even worse. I’d say it was kind of like controlled sliding/falling, but that gives us more credit in terms of the “control” than what we really had. We both fell several times. And I cut up my hand from one of the rough landings.
Once we read that online it was so discouraging because we knew if we had done it just a year or two later it would have been a completely pleasant hike instead! Oh well, you win some and you lose some!
We still had a really pretty day, a beautiful summit view, and a successful hike, so in retrospect I can only complain so much!