It was our first full day in Colorado this year, also our first day hiking this season. I came from sea-level with my family to hike, like we enjoy doing every summer. I told my dad that we should probably do a summit that is about 12,000 ft. Since we were definitively not yet acclimated to the high elevation. Instead, my dad chose Grizzly Peak, at Loveland Pass. What a great way to get acclimated, at over 13,000 feet.
The elevation of Mount Sniktau is 13234 ft / 4034 m.
I stepped out of the warm car and got hit by a blast of frigid wind. Quickly I found my jacket and put it on, not wanting to catch a cold. I had not eaten breakfast, so I was not feeling to enthusiastic. I always have to eat, I get hungry very easily. My dad told me we will be eating on the rolling hills near the mountain; I agreed and packed my things.
Hiking up the first few steps was like jogging half a mile at sea level. I knew that I really needed more time to acclimate, and I was quite hungry. Walking up to the saddle in the roaring cold winds was not want I had dreamed our first day would be. It was pretty bad; I have never experienced winds quite like this. Finally there was a small incline, we decided to eat breakfast there.
Now I could feel energy inside of me again. I hiked with much more happiness now, and started taking pictures as well as enjoying the amazing views, instead of being huddled up cold, and hungry. With amazing wildflowers along the way, the rest of the hike to the saddle was great. We rested there a bit and continued on to Grizzly Peak.
After hiking a while there was a sudden drop to a much lower elevation, where you then began your scramble to Grizzly Peak. I was beginning to be quite worried about my acclimatization. I had to rest very often, and it was hard to keep a pace. So my mom and I decided we would stop and rest here longer, while my dad would summit Grizzly Peak. I was fine with it as I knew that once I had altitude-sickness, it might last for many days, and I did not want to ruin my trip.
Time to Rest
I took off my shoes and rested my feet when a friendly marmot decided to investigate who these hikers were invading his own territory and disrupting his sleep! He ran around at first and then gracefully climbed up a boulder and seemed to be just enjoying the view of Grizzly Peak. I did not miss this chance to take quite a few pictures of him sunbathing.
We had rested enough, and turned back to continue the hike out. We decided that it would still be a while until my dad had finished bagging that peak; so we decided to set our goals on something a bit easier, and something not to far away. Mount Sniktau- 13,234 feet above sea level. Wanting to bag at least one peak today, we hiked up it with more ease then before; with the sky a crystal blue there was not much to worry us.
It was a short time, and we had made the summit, only two more people were on the top. My mom and I sat down and enjoyed some Gatorade. Hiking back down was great; flowers of every color filled the grassy slopes. The surrounding mountains were patched with large clumps of snow, the view was amazing! Finally meeting our dad 100 yards from the car we called it a day, and set off towards the San Juan Mountains.