I’ve been trying to attend one of these
events for almost a year but I just haven’t been available on the dates they’ve
occurred. I wasn’t available today
either, but our Rocket Troop meeting got cancelled at the last minute, so I
re-arranged an appointment for 8:30pm instead of 7pm and decided to go. By myself.
Going alone was a conscious
decision. There are several people I
could have invited, and who I would have enjoyed going with. Rebecca even offered to go with me and be my
designated driver, but I knew if I went
with someone I knew I wouldn’t have mingled and met other people, and that was
my main goal of attending this event: to
meet other like-minded 14er hikers and pick their brains.
I don’t get out much, so I had Rebecca
and Emily help me get dressed. Jeans and
a cami and heels. I felt
Before leaving the house I quickly
posted to the event page: “Woohoo! I’m actually going to make it tonight! Long
time listener, first time caller… I’m excited to meet you all!”
I hopped in the truck and drove downtown
to the Cerberus Brewing Company. I’d
never been there before but had no trouble finding the place. Parking was insane! My truck was too big for their little parking
lot, but after a 20 point turn I was able to drive back out and was extremely
lucky to find someone vacating their spot just across the street. I pulled up as far to the curb as I could but
my truck still stuck out a little ways into the street. I was a bit of a hazard but I was legally
I saw people already seated that looked
like they’d be a part of the 14er crowd, so I quickly went to the bar to order
a beer. There were 4 of us in a line
that took 20 minutes. This was so not
cool! Since we were at a brewery (not a
bar), everyone in line ahead of me wanted to try several different beers before
ordering. UGH! The line at the bar should have been for
people who already knew what they wanted.
IMO, if you don’t know what you want, sit at a table and be served. Anyway, the bartender didn’t think far enough
ahead to take the order of people who knew what they wanted while those in
front of them were still deciding. When
it was finally my turn I asked for their largest option for beer (thinking it
was the 32oz) because I didn’t want to stand in that line again. I had hoped on ordering fries or something to
eat as well (I hadn’t eaten dinner yet), but that wasn’t possible at the walk
up counter. I was handed a 16oz Amber (which was very good
by the way) and headed out to the patio to meet some fellow hikers, resigned to
waiting in line again at a future point.
I saw two men sitting and talking at a
table outside that looked like hikers, so I introduced myself. No, they weren’t
hikers but bicyclers who’d just finished a ride. Whoops!
It was then I realized everyone there pretty much looked like a serious hiker. Gotta love Colorado!
We made small talk and I did get a lot
of great information from them about some trails at the Air Force Academy. We chatted for about 15 minutes before I left
them to enjoy their time.
Next I headed over to a circle of chairs
where everyone seemed to be introducing themselves. This looked like the right spot, so I made
myself comfortable and began chatting.
Some notes from the evening:
The brewery was crowded, especially for a Wednesday night. I’m not sure if it was because their beer is stellar (it was pretty good) or because they’re the only place to go in the area, but they were full from 6pm when I got there until 8pm when I left. Great for them, not so good for me (I’m not a fan of crowds or waiting for beer). I’ll probably visit this brewery again when I have more time and it’s less crowded. Just wondering when that may be?
- I was overdressed. Usually I say you can never be overdressed, but it was a bit of a detriment in this case. The women there didn’t want to talk with me, and the men didn’t take me seriously until I’d talked with them a bit and proved I was a serious hiker. Note to self: wear hiking clothes next time.
- Everyone was nice and cordial. This was a nice surprise because there are a few trolls on the FB site and I was hoping this wasn’t a culture type thing.
- There were probably 30 of us all together.
- There were way more men there than women (by a 7 to 1 ratio at least I’d say)
- There was a woman there who hikes Pikes Peak every month (she’s done this for 60+ months in a row). I’ve never seen her on a trail, but she hikes during the week so our paths wouldn’t likely cross. I’m really bad with names, but I think her name is Yin Ling.
- Other than her, the other hikers had only hiked Pikes Peak once. This surprised me since its right in our backyard. I was very surprised to hear most of them took the Crags route, and those who took Barr Trail took the train back down. Hmmm. They seemed to think I was crazy for hiking it so many times up and back. Oh, and they were impressed with my time too.
- There were people there of all different hiking abilities.
- Half of us were first timers to the event, the other half were regulars.
- I was by far the novice with only hiking one 14er, but gained points for hiking it so many times.
- I met several people, but in no way had time to meet everyone. I felt as if I had to cut a lot of conversations off early because I wanted to meet more people and I was time constrained. I could easily have stayed a few more hours. I felt bad for leaving so early.
- No one had a regular workout routine, they just hiked 14ers.
- I’m really bad at remembering names, so here are the names of some of the people I met, in hopes I’ll remember them better: Stephanie, Joe, Matt, Scott, Yin Ling, Matt, David, Karthik (KK, works for CTU, West Cost Swinger, from India)
I felt as if everyone was asking me
questions, and I didn’t get enough time to ask them questions back. I did learn several things however. Flat tires seem to be a problem on many of
the 4WD trails. I should do these with
other people and preferably with someone who has a jeep.
At one point I asked the group I was
sitting with “So, what allows you to hike?” and was met with blank stares. I was sitting in a group with all men, and
this apparently wasn’t a concern to them.
Their hobby was hiking, so they hike.
End of story. It’s not the same
for women hikers. I’m a full time mom
and I work full time, but my kids are getting older. Having my kids in school and not working
Fridays is what allows me to hike at this point in my life. Once again, this concept was foreign to them,
so I moved on to another subject. Hiking
I was surprised at how many of them had
already hiked all of the 14ers and are now working on 13ers. I met one man who
lives 2 blocks away from me who’s already hiked them all (Scott Davis). His advice was good advice: the shortest or standard route isn’t always
the best route. Many of them are boring
and I should seriously look into all routes before making the decision of which
to take. This seems like pretty good
advice, and something I probably wouldn’t have considered. We exchanged phone numbers and while he isn’t
really interested in hiking the 14ers again, he’d be open to giving me advice
on them all if needed.
This event was really a good way to meet
people with similar hiking goals. Everyone
was sharing information on previous trips, planning new ones, talking about
gear, etc. I saw several groups make plans for backpacking trips and several
14ers right there. There are a bunch of
peaks I know I’ll want hiking buddies (especially ones with technical gear and
possibly a Jeep). I need to figure out
how to be a part of this, which means I’ll definitely be attending the next
14er Happy Hour (if I can make it… I’m seriously going to try).
I left at 8pm because I had an 8:30
appointment, but I left wanting more.
After meeting other 14er hikers and listening to their stories I’m more
excited than even to begin this journey. In the course of taking with these
people I realized if they can do it, I can do it. As I’ve told many hikers while hiking: Start and stop stopping. Just keep going and you’ll make it. There’s a
book title in there somewhere.