14er #2: Mount Bierstadt

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Trailhead sign for Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014.

Last Friday, a few co-workers and I received a random day off. With summer coming quickly to an end, we decided to hike Mount Bierstadt, a Class 2 difficulty, 14,060′ mountain in Colorado. This only being my second 14er, I was just as anxious as the first!

Out of the three of us who hiked, 2 of us were on our second 14er and for one of us, Bierstadt was the first. I would definitely recommend Bierstadt for first-time 14ers for a few reasons: 1) lower class of difficulty, 2) no incredibly steep inclines, 3) the trail is clearly defined and consists of wooden planking (beginning), dirt, and boulders – you get a taste of everything! 4) if you can park in, or close to, the parking lot at the trailhead, it is only about a 7.5 round trip. For directions to Bierstadt, click here.

 

Luckily, the weather last Friday was incredible! We had a few scary clouds once we hit summit, but no rain or hail the entire afternoon. Amazing, right?! It was nice to hike on a Friday and beat the weekend crowds also – if you have the chance to go on a weekday, take it!

 

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A hidden lake during mile 1 of Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Sunshine and a two-track trail – how beautiful is that view?! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

We began hiking the trail at about 7 am and made our way across the two-track path; wooden decking also consumed a portion of the trail early on in the first mile, leading us over marshy land and through tall grass.

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views of the valleys  and meadows were breath-taking. Beautiful wildflowers are present along the majority of the trail until about the 3rd mile (guess-timate). Marmots and little chipmunks were everywhere! It was really fun to see wildlife in addition to the beautiful plant life on our hike this time.

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Check out how far we’d come! Looking back at the trailhead below somewhere between mile 2 and 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

Although the trail is pretty tame, the last mile or two are definitely more rough. The higher up, the rockier it gets!

 

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View from somewhere around mile 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Rough terrain in the last mile. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Check out the sweet “Stairway to Heaven” pic from summit:

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Cassy summitting Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views from the top were incredible, but with the clouds rolling in we were only able to stay up there for about 10 minutes.

 

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View from the top of Mount Bierdstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Just enough time to get a picture with the conveniently placed, home-made signs that are waiting for you at the top!

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Kirsten at the top of Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Cassy H., July 2014

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Lonely backpack at the top. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Something we need to mention – 14ers are hard. They truly test your physical and mental abilities to the max. When I hear people say “It’s an easy 14er” or, “Hey, that one’s an easy one!”, it annoys us as this is not necessarily true for you and your abilities. Know your limits. Yes, the 14ers are classified, and this is a good guide in order to pick out which mountains to start on and which mountains will be more challenging than others; however there are no “easy 14ers”.

Research your mountain before you go – 14ers.com is an amazing site with a TON of information including classifications, directions, trailheads, and pictures. Figure out which mountain is going to be right for your skill level. There are 54 to choose from! We definitely recommend Bierstadt as a first-time 14er, but remember that it is still a physical feat to accomplish! There’s no doubt in our mind that you can do it. 🙂

Have any questions or want to accompany DenverSpeax on an upcoming 14er? Comment below, or email us at denverspeax@gmail.com.

 

 

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Denver’s Channel 93.3 BIG GIG 2014

2014 was the first year that DenverSpeax attended Denver Channel 93.3’s BIG GIG, even though the annual event has been happening since 2008. 

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Channel 93.3’s Big Gig 2014. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

For those of you who haven’t been to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre to see a show, it’s honestly a pretty great place as far as price, viewing, and sound (they recently upgraded their equipment). We bought tickets for $15 + tax / fees to sit on blankets in the grass, and listen to 8 awesome bands on the main stage. Also, another stage featured local acts only which was easy and accessible to wander over to in-between acts. Are the beers and food pricey? Sure – but what venue isn’t?

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Jeff, Kirsten, and Steve at Big Gig 2014. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014.

On the main stage, we enjoyed the following bands: Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots, American Authors, Walk The Moon, MSMR, Brick + Mortar, Bad Suns & Rumours Follow. All of which we’d heard on 93.3, but never seen live. We can honestly say that each band is chocked full of seemingly never-ending entertainment; not only was the music good, but the lights, the impromptu covers, crowd engagement, and, well, back flips, were great! Highlights of the show include, but aren’t limited to: 

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93.3’s Big Gig 2014. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

  1. The sweet, off-the-piano back flip from Twenty One Pilots’ lead singer, Tyler Joseph. Way to go, dude! We would’ve broken our necks. 
  2. Panic! At The Disco‘s rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Brendon Urie has NO PROBLEM hittin’ the high notes while the band’s guitarists do an incredible job of harmonizing. I don’t think we saw a single silent spectator during that number. 
  3. Brick + Mortar getting the crowd all riled up, screaming “HEY” in sync during “Move to the Ocean”. Also, the authentic attitudes and gratitude of the two band members, Brandon Asraf (vocals and bass guitar) and John Tacon (drums, vocals, and samples), was admirable. You think we loved them before, well… it’s on stalker-level now. 
  4. Lizzy Plapinger of MS MR has an incredible voice, no doubt…but the girl’s smile is incredible! It lights up the entire stage.

It was such an amazing, all-day show, and definitely a great way to experience so many new bands for a low price. Big Gig definitely falls under the awesome bang-for-your-buck category! If you’re into modern rock, and like watching up-and-coming local bands, make sure to check this out next year. 

Things that will make your experience at Fiddler’s much more enjoyable: 

  • Bring a blanket, or 3. This is beneficial for sitting in the GA Grass area, as well as battling the lower temps at night. 
  • Empty water bottles / canisters, or full AND sealed waters are allowed to go in with you, and you can fill them up as many times as your heart desires at the drinking fountains by the restrooms. 
  • An umbrella is a good idea to shade you from the sun – there isn’t any shade at Fiddler’s. 
  • For those super hot concert days, bring am empty spray bottle to mist yourself with – it’ll keep you cool, and you can find one at a dollar store. 

 

Tacos, Tequila, and Whiskey – Yes, please!

*NEW* Menu items happening this Thursday at both the York and Highlands’ locations! Tomorrow, Pinche’s will unveil the 5 new menu items, so keep your eyes and ears to the ground….er, Facebook, twitter, and instagram! We’re so excited for even more deliciousness at, hands down, one of our favorite eateries of all time. Stay hungry, friends!

denverspeax

Honestly, I ask you – what else do you need from a modern, Mexican eatery? Not only is the food outrageously good, the wait staff is incredible within this dim, but welcoming, restaurant.

Image Lengua (left) and Pollo (right) street tacos served at the restaurant. Credit: Kirsten Ebey June 2013

Inspired by “comida de la calle” or, Mexican Street Food, Pinche Tacos brings the street taco to a whole new level, serving up perfectly portioned favorites like pollo (chicken), carne (beef), carnita (pork), and new faves, like lengua (beef tongue). Served on two small tortillas, the tacos are ordered from what looks like a tapas-inspred menu, complete with appetizers like the mouth-watering queso fundido con tequila (see picture below).

Personally, working in the Food & Beverage industry, I have my eyes peeled for a few things: righteously-flavored food with a presentation, a waitstaff that could either be my…

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14er #1: Grays Peak

On Saturday, Jeff, Ashley, and I (Kirsten) set out at 5 am to conquer Grays Peak in Arapaho National Park, an 8 mile trail round trip. The peak sits at 14,278 vertical feet, atop multiple, winding switchbacks and rocky trails. The scenery is beautiful, and ended up being perfect for Ashley and I’s first “14er”. Luckily, we had Jeff there for support – this was his 3rd 14er since moving to Colorado one year ago!

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The morning sky, 2 miles away from the trailhead. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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The beginning of the trail. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Climbing Up

Looking back on how far we’d come. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Landscape View

The rocky trail ahead. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Beginning of Hike

Making our way along the trail which is 8 miles long. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

Grays Peak is ranked 9th of the 54 Colorado 14ers, and is considered a Class 1 difficulty. This is a great peak for beginners with an extra challenge (if you’re up for it) with Torrey’s being the neighboring peak. From the top of Grays, you can slide on down and back up to Torreys to hit two peaks in one afternoon- both are “14ers” as both peaks are above 14,000 vertical feet. Because of the weather, we did not make it to Torreys, but look forward to going back and trying it before the end of summer!

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Lemoore Effect on our beautiful view while hiking. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

View Rock Ridge

The ridge to Torrey’s – we will be back for that one soon! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Kirsten Sign

Holding the sign for my first 14er. Credit: Ashley or Jeff must’ve taken this picture – July 2014

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Ashley holding the sign for her first 14er! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Jeff Sign Raise

Jeff holding up the sign of his 3rd 14er completed. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Rockpile at the top

The beautiful view from 14,278 feet. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

View From Grays Vign Amsterdam

Our reward for completing the 14er – this amazing view. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

What I learned on my first 14er:

  1. Start earlier so that more breaks can be taken, and more time can be spent at the top! It’s important to check out the weather conditions before going, and make sure to pay attention to the clouds while on the hike. Listen to what the weather is telling you!
  2. Bring two liters of water, minimum. Staying hydrated is going to battle the altitude sickness that many experience while climbing and hiking 14ers. Gaining 4,000 feet in the span of a few hours can be rough on the body – treat it well!
  3. Buy and bring poles. Not only will you burn more calories, you will also see less harsh impact on your bones and joints. Jeff let me borrow his the entire hike, which was a life saver!
  4. Dress in layers. I went with long-legged, thick yoga pants, a tank top, a short-sleeved shirt, a hoodie, and a light rain coat. I also had an extra long-sleeved shirt in my backpack just in case! If you’re too warm, take it off and stuff it in your backpack. Too cold? Bundle up. At that high of altitude, the weather changes quickly and often.
  5. SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN. Protect your skin with sunscreen as there isn’t shade past the treeline. Set an alarm on your phone for every 30 minutes to lather up again. Don’t forget your scalp and ears – my scalp hates me right now as I type this.
  6. FOOD: Bring at least a salty snack and a carb snack. As you slam those 2 whole liters of water, the salt in your body needs to be replenished. I brought Gardetto’s and ended up eating half of the bag. I also brought some dried cranberry trail mix with seeds and yogurt raisins mixed. Lastly, I brought a few Cliff Bars to regenerate with. A lot of hikers on the trail brought sandwiches and ate them at the top. I saw a few with some fine Colorado Craft brews also!
  7. Slow and steady wins the race. Know your limits and know your pace – it’s okay to take more breaks, just make sure the weather is permitting and you have time to do so. Don’t overdo it and hurt yourself- that’s silly. You can count your steps to decide how often to break and keep yourself on pace. For example, I would count 60 steps and see if I needed a 10 second break; if I didn’t need a break after 60 steps, I would count 60 more and again gauge where I was.

 

In two weeks, we are looking forward to conquering Mt. Elbert for Steve’s first 14er. This is also in preparation for the Colorado 54 event for Clean Water where we will ascend Mount Democrat and hopefully 3 other neighboring peaks! The rush you feel when completing something this strenuous is amazing, and incredibly addicting.

Climbing Grays Peak was the hardest thing I’ve ever physically done to my body. I have been told that there are no actual “EASY” 14ers. Many websites and personalities will rank them, but because of the stress level that you are causing your body, it’s important to be safe and research before you go: research the hike, good shoes, the weather, poles, timing of sunrise and sunset, etc. Also make sure you go with someone, or in a group. If this isn’t possible, take a screenshot of the map you followed in on your phone and send it to someone. Hiking in general can be dangerous – imagine the possibilities at 13,000 feet with no support and terrible weather!

Check out rankings and tons of other helpful information about 14ers here.

For great gear at sweet prices, we use either Amazon or The Clymb.

 

Traveling in Colombia, aka the first videos we ever shot.

When we told our friends and family that we were going to Colombia back in 2010, the majority of them thought we were nut jobs. While some thought we would be kidnapped by a drug cartel, others thought we would be murdered immediately once landing into Bogota. Either way, very few were supportive, which is understandable when the media isn’t helping much to portray the amazing culture, beautiful environment, and innovative entrepreneurship of the country.  Continue reading

Summer Storm Set – Who Will You Be?

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A summer storm. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, July 2014

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

 

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Another view of the summer storm. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, July 2014

 

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Brews with your fave comrades at Comrade Brewing

Although there’s no proven science (yet) stating that fermented barley boosts muscle growth, we sure do feel the positive affects of a nice, craft brew after a long bike ride (check out Bicycling.com‘s top picks for Post-Ride Brews).

Bike riding and craft brews go hand-in-hand here in Denver, and it’s no wonder Colorado is ranked 3rd on the list of 10 Best Craft Brew States in America (USA TODAY – 10 best craft brew states in America).

After heading south from Denver on the Cherry Creek Trail via bikes this past holiday weekend, a group of us checked out Comrade Brewing at 7667 E Iliff Ave, a couple blocks west of the trail. Continue reading