14er #4: Mt. Democrat for Clean Water

Last Saturday, we finished another 14er. This one was especially awesome as it completed our Colorado 54 Campaign to fund clean water solutions for families in Nicaragua.

team and sign

The DenverSpeax Team on top of Mount Democrat, Aug 2nd, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014

Mount Democrat (14,148′) is considered a Class 2 (Difficult Class 2, depending on route) and links to other peaks:

Unfortunately, with 2 hours of sleep because of freezing weather (that we were ill-prepared to sleep in), we only made it to Mount Democrat. Hopefully, we can crush the other three peaks before the end of Summer 2014!

K hiking up

Kirsten hiking up Democrat – Aug 2nd, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014.

 

steve and k

Steve and Kirsten holding the Democrat sign at the top! Photo Credit: Jeff Doorn, Aug 2014

 

steve

Steve checking out the view from how far we had all come. Photo Credit: Jeff Doorn, Aug 2014

 

K and Jeff

Kirsten and Jeff checking out the beautiful view from the top of Mount Democrat. Photo Credit: Steve Mercer, Aug 2014

 

We had a blast, and (collectively) ended up raising over $1k+ for families in need of clean water. We’d like to thank all of our contributors from the bottom of our hearts:

Michael Moore & Shawna Jones

I GET DOWN Clothing & Apparel

Robyn Lamson

Ashley & Jason Minard

John Cooke

Jessica Finley

Phil DiTirro

Blake Forslund

Cassy Huidobro

Allie & Dan Price

Hans Smits

Jackie & Tom Lindrup

Katie Braun

Mark Lohman

Barb & George Davis

 

Please check out The Colorado 54 as well as Second Mile Water to find out ways to help & get involved.

twitter

 

 

 

What 14ers or hikes are you looking at conquering before the end of summer? Can you recommend any? There are just SO MANY great ones here in our beautiful state. Also, you may have noticed that we “skipped” 14er #3… can you guess which one it was?? Updates coming soon on more hikes and awesome local places to visit in Denver.

Come hang out with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

14er #2: Mount Bierstadt

biers sign

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!

 

lake

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

path and sunshine

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.

view1

view2flowers

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

 

view3flowers2

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.

view pf path

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!

 

view4almosttop

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

long way up

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

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

stairway to heaven

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.

 

viewfromtop

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!

kirstensign

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

lonesome bagtop

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.

 

 

Help End Water Poverty with The Colorado 54

 

Growing up in Michigan, a beautiful place surrounded by (what seems to be) an endless supply of water, it’s easy to take for granted how incredible of a resource the Great Lakes truly are. When I was much younger, I didn’t really understand why my parents were constantly reminding my siblings and I to conserve water; it was everywhere, wasn’t it? It’s not like it would run out! Silly parents. What I didn’t understand at that time was how precious clean, accessible water is for a healthy, sustainable living.

Image

Beautiful Lake Michigan. Photo Credit: Jackie Balcom, July 2013.

In such a prosperous, developed nation-state as the United States, it’s hard to think about water as a limited resource; it’s difficult to wrap our heads around the fact that, worldwide, 783 million people are in Water Poverty, meaning their closest source of water is far away, or possibly unsanitary/unclean, or just not affordable.

According to National Geographic, Americans spent $21.7 billion on bottled water in 2011, finding it convenient, appealing, and healthy (click Nat Geo link for article). Honestly, I’m not including this information to shame people into not buying bottled water, but instead to bring to light an incredibly prevalent issue:

There are individuals in the world who do not know when they will have their next drink of clean water.

Image

Women carrying water in Central America – photo is courtesy of National Geographic, accessed June 2014. Click through for provided image.

Late last month, Denverspeax was contacted by a group with not only big hearts, but an amazing plan: The Colorado 54. Organized teams of 500+ men and women will ascend 54 total 14er’s (14,000 vertical foot mountain) simultaneously throughout Colorado in an effort to end water poverty for 1000+ families in Nicaragua.

CO54-Header-Nav-Logo

Click on the logo to visit The Colorado 54 Official site! Photo Credit: The Colorado 54, June 2014.

 

While the actual hiking event takes place on August 2nd, 2014, registration is required ahead of time for a cost of $50, which guarantees the arrival of each participant’s welcome kit, including a Colorado 54 athletic shirt, stickers, and snacks from Colorado 54’s sponsors. Each participant can join or start their own campaign team to raise $500, which is the cost for a permanent, clean you hike two familieswater solution for two families in Nicaragua.

Register fast as the limit is set to 540 participants!

To find out more regarding the actual event day including awards, how individuals will be tracked, etc., please check out The Colorado 54 Official site.

Nervous about campaigning? Don’t be – they’ve made it easy to get donations from friends, family, and coworkers. Sponsors donate directly to your customized campaign page and receive an email confirmation with their tax deductible receipt.

 

Even though the hiking event is taking place in August, register and participate now to be a part of interviews and exclusive give-aways!

This is an incredible opportunity to not only unite as a Colorado community, but also to help end a serious issue. What I think is amazing is that both can be done by banding together and hiking – definitely something Coloradans are known for! Why not hike for a cause? Why not make a difference in others’ lives with this special 14er on August 2nd? Think about it – what an extraordinary feat we can all accomplish together.  

 

Special thanks to Kayleen Cohen for getting in touch with us regarding this event; we appreciate all information and pictures you all have provided, and look forward to spreading the word regarding this awesome event moving forward!