cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


248 You Never Know Who You’ll Meet on the Trail 2010-06-30

Texan friends on the trail

Many naturalist speak of the solitude of nature, I sit alone at 0600 in the chilly morning with my trusty MacBook. The sweet smell of balsam fir surrounds me and a grove of aspen are just downhill from the fir. The birds and I share the morning. It is a special moment, and I might even feel more alone if I could tear my fingers from the keyboard...

If you are looking for solitude, the standard routes on the Colorado Fourteeners (14,000 foot peaks) is not the place to be. All of the peaks are busy, well except for a few remote ones like San Luis, which few even know is a peak! So if you are not going to have solitude, what what will you find?

Each morning of the summer hundreds of hikers and climbers start their quests in the pre-dawn hours. People of all ages, fitness levels, and experience are all hoping for the same goal, the summit. The trail, though crowded, is never boring.

Plodders start extra early in the morning because they know they need the extra time. They will stop and talk to you about anything and everything and for as long as you are willing to listen. It gives them a break. Most plodders are experienced, they are just slow.

One Time Dreamers carry all brand new equipment generally a mix from REI and Cabela's. They carry a copy of Roach's Fourteeners and Mountaineering Freedom of the HIlls with them in their new packs. Generally these climbers only attempt the Front Range mountains or Mount Elbert. Climbing a mountain is on their Bucket List. They generally underestimate their endeavor. They are always wanting to talk above 13,000 feet or anytime the trail gets tougher. All of us were these hikers at one time, some of us just have bad memories and easily forgot the pains of that first trip.

The Vacationing Climbers travel to Colorado (not all are from Texas) to climb the Fourteeners. For a year they have been planning a trip and are now finally on the trail. They love to tell you where they are from and all of their goals. Often times these folks have problems forming realistic goals, but they don't seem to mind changing them around to meet their fitness or mental conditions. They just enjoy being in the mountains.

The Colorado Guys are all on a quest to climb all of the Fourteeners. They are some of the nicest folks on the trail and always seem more willing to help. I think they understand the importance of friends in high, remote replaces. Sprained ankles and other calamities come to the just and the unjust. They will stop and talk to anyone, as they feel the mountains are their home.

The Runners come by in a whisk. Too busy to talk, the runners make sure short work of the hikers day.

The Tourists Walkers are not even considered hikers. They wear flip flops, shorts, carry a water bottle and nothing else. After thirty minutes of walking they think they should be on the summit. Their only conversation is limited to the question, how far is it?

The trails, though often lacking in solitude, are filled with the passion of the hikers and climbers. They share that day and that climb for eternity. It might not be solitude, but it is a special moment.

Happy trails of humanity.



Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: