"I've got two weeks off coming up, and I'm going to hike the Colorado Trail. Figure I'll need to average about 35 miles a day"
He was telling us this as he shouldered his fully loaded backpack he wore to train for his trek. Then he told us that the woman he was with was his 33-year-old crossfit workout partner. She had left a few minutes earlier, and he seemed to want us to know that she wasn't his girlfriend.
Well, she was a bit annoying. For one, she was blasting music from her cellphone, for all to hear on top of a mountain, whether we cared for her music or not amidst all that nature.
She'd said, "I'm slow going down", and Hiker Man told her to go ahead and get started without him. He seemed to want to chat with us for a while to further the distance between him and Music Lady.
Chaco and I have continued to climb the occasional 14er. My count is now up to eight, which is a baby number compared to the true zealots. We met Hiker Man and Music Lady on the summit of Missouri Mountain (Yes, it's in Colorado 😋)
Another hiker was a soft spoken young man who counted Missouri Mountain as his 20th 14er. He pointed out a few others he'd done as we looked over the landscape.
He gave us a cordial farewell before beginning his descent and inserting his considerate earbuds.
Prior to this summer, the only other 14er I'd hiked was Pikes Peak, which, unlike these others, is a bit of a zoo on the summit. In addition to the hiking trails, there's a paved road to get there as well as a cog railway. There's also a crowded gift shop, and hikers are greatly outnumbered by tourists who have driven or ridden.
Despite the crowded conditions, the only people that Chaco and I spoke with briefly atop Pikes Peak were visitors from out of state who could not believe we'd walked up there.
I find much tranquility in these other less traveled peaks. And the only people at the summits are those who have also hiked up there, making for a bit of instant rapport - even if they have some annoying traits like blasting music from their phones.
A woman atop Mt. Yale complimented our cardboard sign (Chaco makes 'em). I noticed that she was wearing a "Yale University" hat and asked if she was an alumnae, which she was. I imagine that getting into and graduating from Yale University is more difficult than summitting Mt. Yale, but if you do the first, you might as well do the other! Wearing the hat, of course.