Berrian Mountain (9,151′) | Berrian Mountain Park
Evergreen, CO | 09/11/19 | 3.79 miles | 1,091′ gain | Class 1
While it may seem like I either always hike alone or with the same few friends, I do occasionally take a chance on someone new. Not only do I follow hiking blogs on WordPress, but I am also semi-active on 14ers.com, just enough to know many of the more popular members. And when I received a message from a familiar username offering to teach me some of the more difficult aspects of mountain climbing, I really couldn’t say no. My only concern was an experienced mountain climber might find me extremely annoying (have I ever mentioned how slow I am?), but I warned him and he seemed unconcerned.
Jay and I planned on doing something a little shorter and easier for our first hike together, and save some of the more difficult stuff for after we know we get along and work well together. Jay suggested Berrian Mountain, an easy but little known hike near Denver. I’d heard of Berrian – in fact I could see it from Meyer Ranch Park – but I’d never heard of a route to the summit. But Jay was “in the know” and so he navigated us to the unmarked trail at the unmarked trailhead.
The trail was obvious and gradually worked its way to the base of Berrian Mountain. We walked through the forest, talking about past hikes and future plans. Occasionally we’d come upon an intersection, always unmarked, and we’d have to stop for a moment to get our bearings.
Jay had hiked here a few times, following most of the seemingly random trails, and he always knew which way we were supposed to go.
About halfway in, we came to an overlook. Jay mentioned that the summit didn’t have any views, so we stopped here for a little bit to get some pictures.
So far, the trail had been nice and quiet, but the second half of the trail was teeming with life. We first saw a doe, and then a few short minutes later we saw movement up ahead.
A LOT of movement. A herd of about 30 elk were almost completely silent as they ran through the forest, only snapping the occasional twig. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before, and just this sight alone made the whole trip for me!
We let the elk have their space and move on before we continued up the trail, but we soon reached the summit. Jay was right, there weren’t many views, but we poked around a bit until we found some.
The hike was pretty short, so we took our time on the way back down, exploring some of the side trails and seeing what else we could find. A pile of rusty cans kept us occupied for a few moments as we looked for labels to see what they once contained.
I’m really glad that Jay reached out, and I look forward to getting together this winter to learn some winter mountaineering skills!