Colorado 2014 – New Heights

This year, I returned to Colorado with a mission.

Certainly my goal as always was to log a multitude of miles and hours in this great natural playground called Rocky Mountain National Park.  And of course, I was here to spend time with my family who are doing the same thing.

This time, however, I had an additional, powerful, and very specific goal.  I wanted to summit my second Colorado 14er.

The Hypoxic Moose: Alpine Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 11,796 feet

The Hypoxic Moose: Alpine Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 11,796 feet

For those who may not know, a 14er is a peak over 14,000 feet above sea level.  Colorado has 53 such mountains offering a variety of terrain, distance, and technical characteristics.  One thing that they all have in common though is the altitude.

At 14,000 feet, the air pressure is only about 60% of what it is at sea level.  That translates into only 60% of the oxygen the body is used to having at its disposal to perfuse the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain.  To put that into perspective, the American Heart Association recommends supplemental oxygen for cardiac patients when the level of oxygen in the bloodstream drops below 94%.

And yes…I do this for fun.

Coming from 1,000 feet, 14,000 is something that takes adjustment.  To this end, I structured my week in order to help acclimate myself to the altitude while at the same time exploring some previously untraveled sections of the park.  While the 14er was a big part of the trip, each hike below was also its own reward and well worth the journey.

I hope you enjoy the writing and photography in these posts…may they encourage you to find your own trail and conquer your own summit.

 

 

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