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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Doing Mount Evans in a T-Shirt

I’ve done more than my fair share of stupid things in my life. And after going up Mount Evans, one of the notable 14ers of Colorado, in only a t-shirt, you can certainly add another to that ever growing list.
When I left home in the morning for a day of nice, leisurely hikes, the thought crossed my mind that I should be wearing jeans and that I should bring a coat along as well. After all, it only makes sense when you’re going over 14,000 feet in elevation. But, for a reason that escapes me, I neglected these wonderful items and went out in my t-shirt and a pair of shorts.
Yeah, not the brightest thing I’ve ever done.
The first stop at St. Mary’s Glacier was no problem. Heck, I was even happy that I hadn’t wore jeans or brought a coat since I was rather warm hiking up the trail there. And if I were to be cold at any place on the day, one would’ve thought it’d be while tramping around by a glacier. But no, instead it just so happened to be when I drove up the highest paved road in North America.
We made a few stops on our way up. One of them was at Summit Lake. The lake sits in the shadow of the peak and there are some spectacular views along some short hiking trails in the area. Downtown Denver is even visible from the road continuing on the way up to the peak from here.
I was a little chilly down at Summit Lake, but I didn’t think that it’d be all that different a few more feet up on top of Mt. Evans. Yeah, I was wrong. I froze my butt off as my friend and I went to check out a reconstructed historic building. It bothered me so much even, despite my thick Minnesota blood, that I had to get back in the car before attempting to make it up to the top.
From the parking lot there is a short trail that climbs to the very summit of the mountain. Learn from my folly though: it’s cold up in them thar hills. We made it a quick trip and double stepped our way up to the top, just to say we did it, and then headed back down just as quick. The nearby lightning strikes on the mountain certainly helped us with a bit of extra motivation as well. It was all big and close and we weren’t interested in seeing it any better than the views we already had.
And so, after pulling over to make room on the road for a huge limo with a wedding party (God I pity that driver), we headed back down the mountain. We had seen a few big horn sheep on our way up, but were so politely stopped by another group that decided they had a bit more right to the road than we did. There wasn’t much traffic though, and what little there was certainly didn’t mind taking a moment to check out the little fellas, which included a few new additions to the herd.
This moment made me freezing my butt off totally worth while. I’ve lived in Colorado for nine years and have had horrible luck in spotting the big horns. But, for the first time, I now was able to check them out. They weren’t in their best shape, with huge, massive horns that are in all of those great photography books about Colorado, but I was excited about the experience nonetheless – especially with seeing the young ‘uns.
The unfortunate point about the sheep though is that they seem a bit too used to people. They approached cars freely, which makes me wonder if people feed them to entice them into a better picture. I find it sad if they do, but I suppose it’s yet another price that nature pays for us putting large roads through such areas like this and our national parks.
It was a great stop though and one that I was happy to take full advantage of since it fell under the usage privileges with my annual National Parks Service pass.

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