Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to: Hike a 14er

 Ever wish you had a manual when you started something new? A guidebook of sorts to walk you through the steps on how to be successful at your new adventure? Mekenzie and I hiked a 14er this weekend for the very first time and we definitely could have used a “how to climb a 14 thousand foot mountain, to the top, without dying, peeing you pants, or hitting your ankles on rocks” sort of handbook. Here are some helpful “how to’s” for climbing 14ers. We are by no means experts- armatures for sure- but we are here to share what we learned and encourage you to make your own climb this summer. It was incredible; a hike to remember for a lifetime. 

How to: Climb a 14er

Start early:
Erin: In preparation for our summit, I picked every ones brains about when is the best time to start. Repeatedly, the answer I got was “VERY early.” Meaning like 5am, early. You do not want to be caught at the top of a 14,000 foot mountain when the afternoon storms start rolling in, so you need to start your decent from the top mid-morning. We were so thankful that we followed this advice because it did get super windy towards the end of the hike and I cannot imagine how those gusts felt at the top. 

 Mekenzie: Oh yeah…early for sure. Weather is definitely not something you want to                  take take a chance on especially when you are  3 hours of hiking away from your car, but as an added bonus for our early start time, we just really loved hiking alone. By the time we had summited and were heading back down the mountain the trails were PACKED. Leaving early really helped us beat  fellow adventurers.  
GOOOHOOOD MORNING (up since 3:00 a.m)! 
 Bring good company:
ErinMaybe I should rank this as the number 1 priority. You are going to spend about 7 hours secluded on a hike with these people so they better be your favorites. I couldn’t have picked a better crew to hike with. These girls are my heart friends- my home team and we could chat about anything and everything for hours upon hours and still not run out of things to say. Plus, they might be the funniest blonde's I know and multiple times we found ourselves doubled over in hysteria, trying our hardest not to pee. Which brings me to my next point

MekenzieOh yeah. Holly and Erin are some of my most adventurous friends. There's no turning back with these two. If things get scary or rough, we just back track and find a new way. Like that one time we got caught scaling icy/ snowy ridges for days… We just turned around and found another path. Go with people that are up for a fun and challenging adventure. 

Bring toilet paper (ladies):

ErinWhen your at 14,000 feet, above timberline, there is not a tree in sight. This becomes very problematic when you have drank you entire camel back of water, there are other hikers all around and your girl friends are telling jokes like they are the next stand up comedian. There came a point where we just had to find a good valley, hidden from the trail, leave Holly as a look out and get ‘er done. You don’t want to be caught in this situation without our first world blessing of t-p, so bring it with you!

MekenzieNot only was she our  "look out companion" but she also documented...

Wear lots of layers:
ErinWe were pleasantly surprised that we did a good job dressing for the weather. We were a little unsure of what to expect but we were comfortable the entire hike. A pair of running tights to cover the legs and then layering a tank, long sleeve and zip up was perfect. There were points during the climb that we were just in our tank tops and then 30 minutes later when the mountain winds ripped through the peaks we were in all our gear. I wouldn’t have wanted anymore clothes to lug around, however any fewer layers I would have been chilly. 

Mekenzie: Layering is so key to being prepared for a long hike. I wore running tights, a tank, a long sleeve, and a wind breaker, but I was constantly taking on and off various layers throughout the day. One thing I would suggest is wearing hiking boots. I'm kind of a diva when it comes to hiking and I decided my Nike's would do the trick. After about 5 boulders to the ankle I decided being a diva was a bad choice. 

Snacking is key:
 Erin: Food and cooking is something that Kenz and I are so passionate about. So, it was no surprise that planning out our meals for the hike was our favorite part. We knew that climbing a mountain for almost 7 hours was going to require a lot of fuel- so we packed the most energy rich, protein snacks we could find. It wouldn't be a girls morning without coffee so Kenz made us some delicious pour-over cups that we sipped as we curved around the mountain roads on the way to the trail head. Before we started our ascent, we ate my famous home made protein bars (recipe at the end of the post). The rest of the hike consisted of continual snacking on trail mix, whole foods bars and smoothie drinks. 

Mekenzie: Erin and I did more planning for snacking on the hike than the actual hike it seems. We like to call ourselves birds as our diet is made up of seeds and grains and nuts and granola and various other foods that look like they could be found in a bird feeder. Since we were in our "natural habitat" we had to do it right. We also love eating so it was fun to surprise our birthday girl with all sorts of goodies we would pull out along the way like little Mary Poppins wanna- bes. The morning started with Erin's home made breakfast bars. She makes the best bars so I usually try to act really busy so she will make them. It worked, Erin made the bars and I brought the coffee. We candled that bar and sang to our Holly babe. Other snacks along the way included Bolthouse juices, two different kinds of trail mixes from the Sprouts bins, bananas, and Honey Stinger Bars from Whole Foods. We stopped and snacked all along the way. 

Breakfast time

Birthday girl!
Hiking a 14er with this group of girls is something we will remember forever. We encourage you to have an adventure of your own this summer and hopefully some of our "how to's" will make it a fun, exciting, successful trip!

Kenz and Er

Erin's Famous Protein Bars:

The Base:
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 cup All Natural Peanut Butter (I use Whole Foods Fresh Ground)
1/2 cup Agave (or Honey)
2 Tablespoons Chia Seed
2 Table spoons Ground Flax Seed

Add ins:
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate covered walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 chopped almonds
1/4 pumpkins seeds (you can chop these as well, but I prefer mine to be very dense and crunchy)
(the above ingredients are my faves, but you can use any sort of chocolate add ins or seeds that you prefer)

Mix base ingredients first. Chop and prepare your add-ins. You may want to add extra pb or agave at this point if your mixture seems too dry. Press bars into 9x9 pan and place in refrigerator or freezer. Once cooled and hardened cut into 9 square bars and ENJOY!

No comments:

Post a Comment