Proper eats for post-fourteener stop
Ditch the trail mix and grab a burger
If a turkey sandwich and a handful of trail mix satisfies you after expending loads of effort and calories summitting a fourteener, great. You’re probably one of those people who willingly eats vegetables and votes in midterm elections.
But if you, like me, are downright insulted by the suggestion of lean meat and raisins after exerting so much energy, then save that sandwich and granola for, well, never, and get yourself off that mountain as quickly as possible to enjoy some real food.
Here are the best postsummit victory meal spots for the closer-to-home peaks.
While the crowds wait for ho-hum burgers at K’s, you are at the Buena Viking burger truck already biting into 7 ounces of thick, juicy patty perfection. Go spicy with the Boone burger (jalapeños and cream cheese) or sweet with the First Snow burger (honey and cheese from Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy). Cheddar tots round out the meal because, after hiking thousands of feet, there is no such thing as being overly indulgent. Buena Viking: House Rock Kitchen is the rare restaurant that makes healthy food that tastes like unhealthy food. Case in point: the gigantic Indian bowl with housesmoked pulled pork. The components are healthy — brown rice, veggie curry, roasted pumpkin seed slaw, fruit chutney, greens — but it packs a guilty pleasureworthy flavor punch.
The Buena Viking burger truck in Buena Vista grills up the best. (Allyson Reedy, The Know)
Nothing satisfies the hunger aroused by hiking for eight straight hours quite like piles and piles of smoked meat. In-the-know climbers come to Mason’s High Country BBQ for the tangy pulled pork, German rope sausage and St. Louisstyle ribs, but don’t leave without trying the stewed greens and peach cobbler.
Pizza is also an excellent post-14er food. Why? Because pizza is a good postanything food. It’s also a good pre- and during-anything food. If you can figure out a way to serve Leadville’s High Mountain Pies on the trails, please let me know. For now, I’ll have to settle for the crispycrusted, cheesy pies as an après mountain snack.
My perfect fries reside inside a drive-thru in Leadville. (There are also burgers, chicken sandwiches and Mexican plates, but I’m just talking fries here.) The potatoes might be deep fried in fairy dust, I’m not sure. I just know that no other fries have a crisp like Gringo’s fries, and, if a magical outer super-crisp wasn’t enough, they then have a squishy inside, which gives you the perfect crunchy/fleshy bite that some people search their entire lives for and never find. It’s at Gringo’s, fry seekers. Gringo’s: 102
After hiking one of the fourteeners near Buena Vista, you’re going to want more than trail mix, so head to the Buena Viking burger truck.