Top 10 of 2016 (#6)

We take a family vacation to Colorado just about every summer.  The Rocky Mountains have so much to offer in terms of things to do, adventures to take, and beautiful scenery.  It's also nice to escape the heat and humidity of the Midwest and head to the high country.  

The past several summers, we have taken as many opportunities as we could to summit some of Colorado's peaks that reach an elevation of over 14,000 feet.  Affectionately known as the 14ers, this has become a very popular activity among the locals and tourists alike over the years.  On this day, July 19, we summited Mt. Bierstadt with an elevation of 14,065 feet.  This was the third time I had been to the summit of Bierstadt, mainly because of its proximity to Denver, easy access, and because it is considered one of the easier 14ers to complete.  However, don't take it lightly, for "easy" is a relative term.  It is still no walk in the park, so to speak.  

Mt. Bierstadt, located only about 40 miles west of Denver, is one of the more popular 14ers.  If you hike it on any given weekend during July or August, you are likely to have lots of company and share the mountain with hundreds of other adventurers.  A trip during the week is generally not as crowded, although you'll still likely see a few others on a quest to reach the summit.  Just make sure you get an early start and are well on your way back down to avoid potentially dangerous afternoon thunderstorms that are common in the summer.  

Mt. Bierstadt was named in honor of Albert Bierstadt, a German-born American landscape painter who made the first recorded summit of the mountain in 1863.  Bierstadt joined several journeys of the westward expansion of the United States to paint some incredible scenes.  Being in the mountains and surrounded by majestic peaks, it isn't hard to see where he got his inspiration.  

In much the same way as Bierstadt recorded the beautiful scenery on canvas, I have attempted to capture it on a digital sensor.  This image really doesn't do it justice, but I hope it provides just a glimpse of the grandeur of the scene.  This image was taken on the descent, about half way back down the mountain.  The bright yellow flowers, deep blue sky, and puffy white clouds begged to be captured.  This is one of those images that may not be technically perfect, but it is one of my favorites for this past year.  It brings back memories of great times spent in the mountains with some truly great friends, and that's "perfect" enough for me.  

Tech details:

  • Focal length: 10 mm
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 of a second
  • Aperture: f/8
  • ISO: 200  

Wildflowers on Bierstadt