Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hiking Pikes Peak...

On Sunday morning, we set our alarm for 2:30 am to get up and hike Pikes Peak.  We wanted to leave our apartment at 3:00 am so that we could safely arrive at the Barr Trail by 4:30 am to start our hike.  Ken gave me a hard time for putting make up on.  I told him that if he ended up needing help later, he would be happy that I took the ten minutes to put on make up.  Who would help a homely looking girl? 

All of our stuff ready to go.  Thanks Rob for letting me borrow a backpack!

Ken at 4:30 am at the start of Barr Trail.  It was so dark out!  The moon was a tiny sliver of a toenail!

I am ready to hike!  Thank goodness we stopped for coffee.  No Pumpkin Spice Latte at 4:00 am, only gas station coffee, but it did the trick!  There were already several cars in the parking lot when we arrived.  Only crazy people are up that early to hike up a 14,000 foot mountain.  Oh, and marathon runners too.  :)

Ken's first breather of the day.  The first three miles are pretty difficult.  It is nonstop switchbacks and it is pretty steep.  Well, what can you expect hiking up a mountain?  It is going to get steep.

A little background on Ken:  He has never walked 13 miles in his entire life, let alone up a mountain.  I have to say that I was impressed that he wanted to try this hike.  Impressed, and worried.  It is $500 per person if you have to be evacuated.  He told me that if he had to call for help, he would pay his $500 and just send me on my way.  Thanks Sweetie.

This is around 6:00 am as the sun was starting to rise.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  I will say that I went from cold to hot and hot to cold.  I told Ken that I did not expect to sweat so much.  Not sure what I was thinking!

So glad that it is starting to get light out!  Please excuse my deer in headlights look, the flash is a little bright that early in the morning!

Here is our first view of where we are heading.  Yeah, it looks far doesn't it?  We still have about nine miles to go to get there.  Whose idea was this again?

Halfway!  We made it to Barr Camp, which is 6.5 miles from the Summit.  I am waiting on coffee to be served up.  I also had a few pancakes and purchased a Snickers.  Isn't that why one would hike 13 miles up a 14,000 foot mountian, to be able to eat a Snickers?

At Barr Camp, we enjoyed coffee and refilled our water bottles.  I started to get chilly at this point from sweating so much.  Our elevation at Barr Camp was 10, 200.  Only 3,800 more to go to the Summit. 

This is one of the last smiles I got out of Ken.  He kept asking when the trail was going to flatten out.  Um, I do not think that it ever does when you are hiking up a mountain. 

This is Ken's "signature" shot.  I have about 1,000 pictues of him like this anytime we are outside. 

So at this point, I really start to think that Ken is stalling with all of the picture taking. 

The views are just amazing!

At the A-Frame Shelter.  We have a little over three miles to go.  I just enhaled, I mean ate my Snickers.  If you are wondering if I shared it with Ken, the obvious answer is no.  :) 

Getting above the treeline was something I had been looking forward to all day.  This is where Ken and I had an exchange of words.  Let's just say that his attitude was less than stellar at this point.  He told me it was just not happening.  I told him he better make it happen and that he has two choices:  two miles to the top or 11 miles back down.  I think he was a little irritated when I told him to try to walk for three minutes and then rest for one minute.  He walked for 30 seconds and stopped.  He told me just to go, so I did.  I looked back one time and yelled to ask if he needed a snack.  Nope, just go I was told.  So at mile 11, we went our separate ways.

I managed to catch back up with everyone that had passed us while Ken needed to take breaks.  Do you know what it is like to pass several guys when they are sitting there looking like they are about to puke?  Yeah, it felt great that this 4'10 girl chicked several guys.  At this point, Ken was using his packback as a recliner and was watching me walk up the trail with his binoculars.  I am glad I was able to provide him entertainment during his resting periods.

If you enlarge this photo, you will see the switchbacks that I just walked up.  Pretty amazing.  The wind was starting to pick up and I would put on my jacket and then stop and take it off and then stop and put it back on.  I just could not stay comfortable.

Here is another view of the switchbacks.  After the switchbacks, come the 16 golden stairs up to the top.  I walked up these stairs with two guys that I spent the last mile with.  They were both so friendly and kind.  One of them even helped me down and up a big boulder.  See, I knew the makeup would come in handy.  :)

Making it to the top was like the finish line of a marathon.  I was so happy!  I talked with two other men that I had met on the trail.  They were so surpised that I beat my husband with his long legs.  I explained to them that I am training for my sixth marathon and that my husband has never walked 13 miles in his life. 

It was very windy at the top.  I put on my gloves and would wait outside for Ken for about five minutes and then go inside the Summit house for five minutes.  I kept repeating this, I did not want to miss him coming up.  I did see all of the people finish that were with me on the trail, including a gentleman that was hiking in honor of his 70th birthday.  It was great to watch him come up the trail. 

Finally, I came out and saw Ken off in the distance!  I gave him a big wave and was smiling great big.  If you enlarge the picture, he is in the black shirt holding on to his hiking stick for dear life.

Here he comes! 

Coming up the last bit of incline.  I have never been so proud of him!  At mile 11, I had doubts if he would make it or not, but he did.  What a very determined (maybe a little stubborn) husband I have!

I knew better that I should have had two photos taken of us.  This one is blurry and it just makes me sick.  It is the only one of us at the top.  Pretty sure even in the blur, I look like a midget next to Ken!

We reserved tickets on the Cog train to get back to Manitou Springs.  We reserved tickets on the 4:40 pm train, when in reality, we could have taken an earlier train.  We just were not sure what to expect.  We were afraid that maybe we would get sick from the altitude, but we were both fine. 

Ken told me that at one point he was cursing out a fly that was on his leg.  A guy came around the corner and thought Ken was crazy!  I am just sorry that I did not see this!  He said when he was perched up in his backpack recliner, that several people offered him water.  He told them he was fine, just relaxing and trying to finish. 

The thing that surprised me the most was how friendly everyone on the trail was.  Everyone we talked to offered water or snacks.  It is always good to see people being so kind to one another. 

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  Not sure if you will get the same answer out of Ken. 

Ken, you did such an amazing job and I am so proud of you for wanting to hike Pikes Peak, and for finishing it. 


WannabeRunner said...

What a great post and such beautiful pictures!

PS - I have that same Go St. Louis! shirt and I love it :)

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

What a great vacation! You deserve more than one Snickers bar after that! Great photos!

lindsay said...

oh man. this was too funny! ken reclining and watching you via binoculars. way to go! i can't believe you got up at 430am to hike, but i guess it is necessary on a mountain like that. sounds amazing! and way to chick those guys!

ajh said...

I hiked Pikes Peak this summer and felt like I had completed a marathon too. I kept telling myself I had to keep going because no one was coming to get me. I didn't know you could be evacuated but it would cost 500 dollars. Good thing I didn't know then or I might have gone for it! I really enjoyed reading your account of it!

Tara said...

What? Cool! I wish I had known that you guys were coming here; I would have loved to have met you! Maybe at Chicago.

Glad you enjoyed yourselves. I'll have to actually get out and hike pikes peak!