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The Greatest 14'er

Now let me start this by saying, I am not an avid climber,
I've hiked plenty of trails before, but a whole mountain, yes-first timer,
Our target was massive, the highest summit of the southern front range,
an iconic giant with idyllic views, Pikes Peak is the well known name.
An advanced & at times, strenuous hike, not for the feint of heart,
over thirteen miles in length, split into two parts.
This may sound easy, some may think it would be a breeze,
but over thirteen miles, the elevation gain is 7400 feet.
Above the tree line, the air gets very thin,
trees don't even grow at that height, ever wonder why that is?
Your muscles search for oxygen, being pulled from the thin air,
you body will try to stop you from continuing, by the signals it will share.
A six hour hike the first day, backpacking up Barr Trail,
reaching Barr Camp, my body was so tired and frail.
I was exhausted and everything was aching,
next we heard there were bears in the area, peoples food they were taking.
Staying in a lean-to, for those unaware...
it's like a three sided trough, with us as food for the bears.
That night was freezing, we were layered up head to toe,
woke up in the morning with no bite marks, I was ready to go.
Our group of six, now cut down to three,
Her cousin Jessica, Carmen my love, and then there was me.
I really had to dig deep that day, with the air so thin,
muscles burning intensely underneath my skin, relying on supplemental oxygen.
Calling on my tenacity, pushing the boundaries of my very limits,
I was determined to summit this beast, no doubt in my mind I would finish.
Loaded with gear, we rocked switchback after switchback,
stopping to enjoy the views & catch our breath, then back on track.
When we reached the Sixteen Golden Stairs, it was truly an honor,
one final challenge to complete, before we could mark Pikes Peak as conquered.
Reaching the summit, 14,115, with snow gently falling, covering the ground,
visibly disheveled, and receiving congratulations from the people around.
This was easily my greatest adventure and accomplishment ever,
and I love that I can always say, we did it together.
But this still does not compare to the love of my life,
14 years together, the most amazing 14'er I will ever climb.

Original Work by: Shawn A.

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The Greatest 14`er