I went on a hike this morning.
A killer hike.
When my friend emailed our hiking group earlier this week suggesting this trail on the US Air Force property, she said it was a 1.8 mile (one way) hike up to the summit of Eagle Peak, with a 300 foot elevation gain.
About 20 minutes on the trail, we realized that she got her numbers mixed up and instead of being a 300 foot elevation gain, it was NINETEEN HUNDRED. 1900 feet spread out over a whopping 1.25 miles.
So, basically, it was a vertical ascent, which is what I came home and discovered when I looked up Eagle Peak on the web.
Here's one description: "This near-vertical trail from the edge of the Air Force Academy was clearly made by young, hard-body cadets. It climbs relentlessly. There are few spots for a rest. But the 360-degree view at the top, with the spires of the Cadet Chapel on one side and the snowy profile of Pikes Peak on the other, makes this serious quad-burner worth the pain."
It wasn't easy by any stretch, but it was gorgeous. The aspen grove near the top (the only flat part of the entire hike!) was breathtaking, and there were Columbine everywhere.
I forgot my camera, but I did take some pictures with my cell phone...I just can't figure out how to download them to my computer, so here's a pic I borrowed from a website I found.
The views from the summit were astounding! The picture above shows the view looking down from the summit onto the US Air Force Academy.
It was very cool here today, and it was COLD at the top. My kids thought it was awesome when I told them that we were actually above the clouds a few times. That didn't help my fear of heights though.
Getting down from the summit was almost as difficult as climbing up. I slid twice on the scree (very loose rock/dirt) and scraped up both my hands and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a nice bruise in the middle of my back from landing on a rock. Ugh.
We made it down safely, and walked across the street to the USAFA visitor center and grabbed Subway sandwiches which we ate outside while facing "our mountain". Such sense of pride and accomplishment!
My knees took the brunt of the hike today...especially on the descent...so I'm going to make a Motrin cocktail and head to bed shortly. I bet I'll sleep really well tonight!
So...some of you have asked about my Pikes Peak ascent. My hiking friends and I are still working towards that goal. Honestly, as we were hiking up Eagle Peak today, we weren't sure we were ready, but my friend figured out today that Pikes Peak is only a 10% grade and what we did today was 23% (major steep!). Also, we climbed 1900 feet in 1.25 miles, while Pikes Peak is a 7,000 foot gain spread out over 13 miles. I think we can do it! I'm feeling pretty empowered after today.