Thursday we celebrated Leighton’s 11th birthday. He said he wanted to climb Mt Bierstadt. He had heard about it during our virtual summer Colorado run that he and I have been doing and it is a 14’er at 14,065 feet. The younger kids stayed at my parents house and we got up at 2AM to be on the road by 2:45. We pulled into the trailhead parking lot at 4:35 and were on the trail before 5AM. It was still dark and Leighton loved using the headlamps. The first 2 miles of the trail is relatively flat with slight incline and we got to watch the sun rise during that part which was just really special. The last 1.8 miles was a push and tough. Leighton did great, I had to tell him at one point, “alright buddy, mommy needs you not to talk for just a bit while I really focus on getting up this part”. There is a ridge before the final climb and when we got up there he exclaimed “I feel like I’m on top of the world”. We made it up to the top, and it was COLD up there but the views were amazing. Mt Evans was just down and back up another ridge about 2 miles away, maybe next year we will do both. After some snacks and photos we started making our way back down. On the way down there were a lot more people coming up, we had kind of had the trail to ourselves on the way up, we had seen some people but everyone was spread out, not so as we went down. We did see a group of mountain goats on the side of the trail on the way down. It was a great hike.
When we got home we all took showers and he face-timed with Clint’s parents and opened their gifts which were a cook set and cook book. I’ve told the kids that when they turn 11 they have to start making dinner one night a week, so now he has his own set of things to do that with and grow those skills. He wanted to help make his birthday brownies so he and I worked on those together and then later that afternoon/early evening my parents came over with the other kids and we had his birthday dinner. He wanted pasta, kielbasa, salad, fruit and then the brownies. He opened my parents gift which was a Olympic hat. The gift from the kids was a chair to sit and read for his desk area. Clint is in the process of making him a practice pommel horse so when that is done will be his gift from us. It was a good birthday and we are so thankful that he is growing into an amazing young man.