MOUNT SHERMAN — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This week, we head for the high country to summit our very first 14er, Mt. Sherman.
A 14er is slang for a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet.
There are 96 of these in the United States, and Colorado has the most with 58.
Hiking a 14er I'm told comes with a sense of accomplishment and certain bragging rights.
We'll see about that...
Our hike begins just before 7 am at Fourmile Creek Trailhead.
Conditions are calm, with little wind, but hazy skies from wildfires burning in neighboring states.
A mountain stream hugs the lower portion of the trail, and we encounter some serious pitch right out of the gate.
Considered by enthusiasts to be one of the "easier 14ers", Mt. Sherman has a rich mining history.
This adds to the natural beauty of the hike, but the air is thin, and our breathing grows heavy as we climb up the mountain.
Up this high, the landscape is barren, which can be a little confusing for hikers new to the trail.
A tip we've learned is to look for man-made rock piles called cairns. They'll help you stay on the right track.
The last section of the hike is along an open and narrow ridge.
The wind at this elevation can get quite strong, and there's little room for error.
After a little more than two hours, we've made it to the top of Mt. Sherman, elevation 14,036 feet.
I count close to 20 hikes on Sherman's summit.
We're all here to enjoy the views and catch our breath.
After a short break, it's time for us to head back down the mountain.
In total, Mt. Sherman's 5 mile hike climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet, and checks off a major item on my to-do list.
Stay tuned to News 5 to find out what adventure I'll be doing next week.
Want a little hint? OK, it's in Manitou Springs and is also a very "active" adventure.