Most of you know that I hiked Pikes Peak three weeks ago. Here's the first installment of my journey to the top.
Last fall, I started walking/hiking with some of my friends from our kids' school. We're just a group of moms who wanted to incorporate a bit more physical exercise into our daily routine and as far as friendship goes, we all just sorta "clicked". After hiking together for a couple of months, I sorta jokingly threw the "hey let's hike Pikes Peak" idea out there. We laughed about it at first, but then got a bit more serious. I decided that was going to be my goal for 2008, got my friends to commit to it also, and shortly after New Year's, we met for dinner at 3Margaritas and worked out the details of our training plan.
That plan included LOTS of hiking. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I love to hike. It's great exercise and it is so enjoyable for me!
Two months ago, we set the date for our Pikes Peak ascent--September 13. It turned out to be a beautiful day!
I woke up that morning at 3:10AM. Ugh. That's the earliest I've gotten up (on purpose) in a long, long time. My friend came by to pick me up about 3:45AM. Actually, her husband was driving (thank you, Chris!) so that he could drop us off at the trailhead and we wouldn't have to find a parking place or come back for her van. We arrived at the trailhead just before 5:00AM, and Chris snapped this picture of the four of us. Notice our lovely headlamps. It was pitch black when we started, and we certainly needed them for the first hour or so of our hike.
But soon the sun started to appear. Isn't this a beautiful picture of Colorado Springs "waking up"?
The distance from the trailhead at the base to the summit of Pikes Peak is about 13 miles. It's technically something like 12.7, but I like to round up. :) The elevation gain is 7300 feet. There is one (short) flat section of the trail, but the majority of those 13 miles is uphill.
Now is a good time to mention that the day before we hiked it was rainy and
c-o-l-d in Colorado Springs. When the sun came out on the day of our hike and we caught our first glimpse of the peak, I was shocked to see SNOW. I shouldn't have been surprised given the weather conditions the day before, but honestly, I just kept thinking of our hiking day forecast--sunny and 70 degrees. Snow just wasn't in my plan for the day.
The pic below shows a natural rock arch that you pass under. Very cool!
That just looks like a dusting of snow, right??? I thought so too, but it was quite a bit more than a dusting.
The leaves on some of the aspen and other trees were starting to turn colors. I just thought this was a pretty picture...I have no idea what kind of leaves those are.
I love this photo...our elevation at this point was 9170 feet...and we borrowed some guy named John to help us spell it out with our digits.
Barr Camp is situated at the halfway point on the trail. We got to Barr Camp after several hours of hiking and stopped and ate our lunch. Technically, it was probably breakfast since it wasn't even 9AM at that point. Doesn't matter what you call it...it was food and we were all starving!
When I opened my pack to pull out my food, I found this note from John. Sweet, huh? I love him so much!
Barr Camp is an actual camp that is run by a couple who live there year round. Barr Camp offers many different amenities for hikers--overnight accomodations (primitive), food, water, snacks, souvenirs, and most importantly--bathrooms!
Here are some fun pics of some of our gear. I need to interject here that yes, I wore my tennis shoes. I intended all summer to buy a pair of hiking shoes, and just never got myself to REI. I looked online, but knew that I needed to actually try them on...and I never did it. Laziness, I guess. About two weeks before our hike I decided to just forget it and wear my tennis shoes. I'd hiked in them all summer and was fine, and I knew I didn't have time to try to break in a new pair of shoes. And my shoes were fine...until the last two miles when we were trudging through snow and slush. I won't make that mistake again.
We all wore our hydration systems on our backs. Such a great invention!
John let me wear his watch because it has an altimeter on it. It was off a little bit because it's affected by barometric pressure, but it was a good guage and I was especially glad I had it at the very end of the trail...it was encouraging to see how close we were to our destination.
Stay tuned for Part II.