|"Bergen Peak Summer" Colored Pencil|
On a warm summer day in Evergreen, Elk Meadow is dry and yellow. Weathered farm structures contrast with the fresh wildflowers. Bergen Peak provides a dark, green-violet background as low clouds drift across the shimmering, blue sky. At 9,200 feet, Bergen Peak is an Evergreen landmark.
People don't describe this mountain as awe-inspiring but the views from the top are. Bergen doesn't attain the same status as a fourteener and some even dismiss it as just another gentle foothill. I've learned not to underestimate Bergen Peak because it can be quite defiant.
The easy accessibility and excellent trail system make this park an Evergreen hot spot. In the summer, the trails are filled with hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The resilient mountain takes a beating from the heavy usage but if you're not careful it will bite back. I've gotten very sick from racing to the summit and I've taken some nasty falls descending the steep switchbacks.
I've gotten caught in the meadow by thunderstorms and have been nearly struck by lightning. One morning during the fall rut, I got chased off by some frustrated elk. I've discovered that when I'm on Bergen Peak the unstable terrain, abundant wildlife and unpredictable weather can turn an ordinary stroll into an exciting adventure.
Bergen Peak may not be the most beautiful mountain in Colorado but I always bring my camera and it's not the toughest to climb but I always get a good workout. Also, despite the chaos and crowds, if you know when and where to look, peace and solitude can still be found. It is definitely one of my favorite places in Evergreen.