It's funny how people get so excited over arbitrary numbers. Here in Colorado, every outdoor enthusiast is obsessed with the Fourteeners: the state's 54 peaks with summits over 14,000 ft in elevation. Seriously, one of the most common questions asked in casual conversation (right after "Which are you, skier or snowboarder?") is "How many 14ers have you done?" Climb a 14er near Denver on a weekend, and you'll share the trail with hundreds of people. Whereas if you instead climb one of the 700+ Colorado peaks with summits between 13,000 and 14,000 ft, you can enjoy near total solitude.
So for this week's adventure, I'll share a few pics from a hike I did up a 13er only an hour's drive from Boulder: 13,427 ft. Grizzly Peak. Grizzly sits right on the Continental Divide, not far from Loveland Pass. There's no actual trail; you just drive up to the top of Loveland Pass, park, and start trekking along the ridge over several unnamed smaller peaks until you reach Grizzly's summit. First you travel flowering tundra:
|The alpine flowers are as beautiful as the views|
|My husband Robert (left) and the rest of our group; Grizzly is the peak in the background|
|A patch of alpine forget-me-not (one of my favorite tundra flowers)|
|Me and Robert, enjoying the day|
|Ridge below Grizzly's summit|
The summit itself is nice and broad and has wonderful views of the surrounding peaks (including 14ers Grays and Torreys).
|View from Grizzly Peak's summit|