And massive it is. It’s the 3rd highest mountain (with the summit being at 14,421 feet) in the continental United States. We planned to do that mountain plus Mount Elbert. But some things don’t go according to plan.
I strongly recommend acclimating beforehand! Some people like Weisen are super blessed and don’t need to acclimate at all – no headache, no exhaustion from altitude. Me on the other hand, not the case. With Whitney, we didn’t acclimate, with Mount Massive we didn’t either. Weisen, Bela and I flew to Colorado on a Friday, and Saturday hiked to the top and summited that same day. I start getting a headache at about 13,000 feet during these scenarios. What you should do (again, depends on the person) is acclimate for about a day or two. But all is still good.
The whole time we got amazing cell reception – all the bars! We even started FaceTiming our friends and family from the top of the Summit. Summiting was great because the views are spectacular – you feel like you’re on top of the world!
When we came back Weisen went a bit ahead of us, and Bela and I took a wrong turn…whoops. We went down the opposite side of the mountain. My friends who know me well know that I rely on Google Maps and Bela and I got so caught up in conversation we took one wrong turn and realized that we were going down the other side. Rule of thumb is you have to summit before noon (due to the chance of lightning) and it was past that so we decided to keep going down. The problem was we had no cell reception – like zero – “No Service.” Damn. “Shit, Weisen is going to think we’re dead and is going to worry like crazy.” And there was practically no one on the trail we were on. 3 boys moving fast downhill (they were obviously locals) who we should have given Weisen’s number to so that when they got cell service they could text her, and a couple who was going up (but seeing this couple was before we knew we were lost).
We kept hiking down and it was steep and rocky. That combined with feeling the altitude didn’t help. We were so ready to be done. And ready for some Mac and cheese.
Once we got to the bottom we finally saw some people – woo hoo! There was a couple cars we got to hitchhike a ride in – Bela in one and me in another. Thinking back, probably not a good idea to hitchhike separately. But you don’t think of the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve until after the fact. Though there were lessons learned in these events. Anyway, after a 30 minute car ride to town with the folks in the car smoking weed in the front seat (but hey it’s Colorado and I just held my breath LOL), we got there, messaged Weisen on our way there and we were reunited. That night we watched TV and made the decision not to hike again tomorrow but instead go to the Red Rocks.