Friday, July 9, 2010

One Foot in Front of the Other AKA Of Course You Can Do It

I am in love!  No, my husband doesn't need to fret but Vermont does. I am in love with Colorado! What a place!  I am in Colorado Springs which has  so much to offer. Yesterday we took a quick trip in the car through Garden of the Gods. I can't wait to get back and run but there was a tremendous thunder storm after I arrived and it followed us to the Garden.

Today though M and I hiked Pike's Peak!  I am very proud of my accomplishment. I am not a hiker nor used to the altitude here.  We started out bright and early but there were already many people hiking the Incline. Now that is a crazy steep way to go up a mountain!  But we took the trail to Barr Camp which was quite a ways ahead.  The entire hike was about 12.7 miles. Pike's Peak has an elevation of about 14,110 feet.   Certainly this is the biggest mountain that I have ever hiked.  

It was a  typical Colorado day when we started out.  The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun was shining and the views were stunning!  The first couple of miles were fairly steep and had many switchbacks.  I felt like it was a huge privilege  to be hiking in this glorious setting!  I was awed by the views over and over. I tried to look around and appreciate what we were passing. Many times we could see views of Pike's Peak far far in the distance!  It was unbelievable that we were going to be at the top before the day was done.

We stopped at the last of the Ws to see hikers coming up the Incline. This looked crazy steep to me and not as nice as the trails.  Most people seemed to be doing this though. M wants me to try it at some point.  The jury is still out on this one.

Looking up the Incline

Looking down the Incline

We continued on past No Name where M told me the mountain lion lives. I told her we didn't need to talk about mountain lions although I distinctly remember them as well as bears coming up again!  When we got to Bob's Road the trail became flatter and you can run but we  conserved our energy to be expended at the top.  M told me the first three and last three were the hardest. We eventually got to Barr Camp which has an elevation of 10,200 feet. We had  a nice break where I ate the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I have had in my life. M filtered the ground water into our flasks and put some perpetuem in each flask to carry us to the top!  Thank God!  At this point we were about 7 miles into our hike. Believe me I have never hiked 7 miles to say nothing about the remaining six.

Still happy and full of confidence

We hiked 3 miles through the forest until we came to  timberline out in the open finally with no more trees.  I had to really focus as this was becoming difficult. I started worrying about the altitude. Would all those horror stories people had told me about altitude problems come true?  Would they have to carry me off the mountain?  This isn't like quitting a marathon where you can just have someone in a car pick you up. (I have never done this btw!) Was that  a headache I felt?  Mel says to just believe.  Do I believe I can do it? I certainly want to tell everyone I did do it. I can't quit.  Can helicopters land here?  Will they pick you up if you are just being a baby?  This was my period of self doubt.  M was keeping me moving so we could reach the top before afternoon storms.  When we stopped and she said we had 4 miles left I thought I would die. I was sure we had already covered the 3 before the timberline.  But the next mile did go by and we finally reached  timblerline for the last 3 miles.

See the trail on this part

I LOVED the beginning of the rocky part which shocked me. As it should have.  This first mile once I got over how much I loved it went on forever.  I know that mile was really 3 miles long.  Finally though we reached the marker that said two miles left. The top looked far away and I couldn't quite envision how we were going to get there. I had told M I don't do rocks.  Hmmm.  We went between the boulders for mile two.  At one point M seemed to lose the trail due to all the big rocks.  The last part of this mile crossed the face of the mountain.  Then we reached the mile marker for one more mile.  The top still looked a long ways away and I had no idea how we would get there.  We were taking more breaks.  M's lungs hurt and she needed to move.  She took off and I slowly moved forward. At this point I was no longer looking down.  I was using my arm for balance as I wanted to lean into the mountain and NOT OUT! No guardrails here and the wind was waiting to give me a shove.  It had also clouded up a great deal. Then it would open up only to cloud up once more.  Then I also stopped looking up as it looked too far and too steep. I could not imagine I was going to get up there!  I could hear M and her family shout to me and I acknowledged them but without a lot of enthusiasm as it required too much focus on what was ahead.

Almost there!  Look for the pink!

Can you find me?

Finally I was joyous and proud proud proud to finally reach the top!  I felt drained but happily drained! I felt like I had completed a difficult marathon right down to the finishing nausea.

Not such a great view anymore

M's daughter brought us coffee and bagels plus she drove us back to our vehicle! I could NOT have walked one step down.  I was amazed at the people who got to the top and turned around and headed down! Wow! They were getting ready for the Pike's Peak  Marathon!

What a day!  What an accomplishment!


Pahla said...

Wow, that is certainly an accomplishment!! How very exciting for you to make such a beautiful trip. Thanks for all the pics and the great I'm going to need to do that someday!

Char said...

What beautiful pictures! Gorgeous scenery - until the clouds rolled in. It looked like a challenging hike to say the least.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place! Congrats on the hike!

HappyTrails said...

You are AWESOME!!! What a great accomplishment - great job, you two! Glad you are getting out and enjoying some things our beautiful area has to offer. How funny that Steve saw you at REI tonight - what kind of crazy timing is that??? No fair, though, in that he was "incognito" in his work clothes - no cap or sunglasses! LOL! Have fun tomorrow and get lots of rest after your hike. I am looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!!! It will be FUN!!!

Ewa said...

Next hike: Mount Whitney. If you liked Pikes Peak you would LOVE Whitney hike.
After trail running, hiking is my close next love.

Johann said...

Wow, absolutely amazing! That is so beautiful! You did great! Easy to see why people fall in love with trail running.

Marlene said...

Glad you are enjoying CO! It sounds amazing. CONGRATS on climbing Pike's Peak. WOW!!! You got some awesome pics.

Unknown said...

CO looks gorgeous, I'm happy that you're enjoying yourself and the running and hiking opportunities. Have fun with the meet ups!

Heidi said...

I am so incredibly jealous! I would love to hike something like that. Sadly I can't find anyone who is into doing that kind of thing. Beautiful scenery, and looks darn challenging too. Glad to hear you got a ride down. I was reading and wondering how the climb down would be. I hate hiking down if it can be at all avoided.

Monica said...

Once again you have impressed me. Check that off your "bucket list"

It took me a while, but I did finally find you in the picture with all the rocks.

Teamarcia said...

what an amazing accomplishment and stunning scenery too! Thanks for sharing!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Great pics! Quite the accomplishment! I hope your upcoming race is a lot of fun.

misszippy said...

Wow--that is amazing! So cool that you did it. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

Julie said...

Wow, way to tackle Pikes Peak! You are a rock star for making it all the way up there with that crazy elevation!!

I absolutely love all of your pictures:) I am smiling ear to ear! You did good:) Colorado is a beautiful state and you were lucky see so many different gorgeous views! Thanks for sharing!

Tara said...

Wow, you are awesome! Congrats on your HUGE accomplishment, that is not an easy hike!

Glad you are enjoying it out here. Beautiful pics!

Molly said...

talk about cross training....I finally found you in that last photo!

Anonymous said...

OMG...I am visiting CO in November and I am so excited. Great photos!!!! Awesome job with the peak :)

Keri said...

Congrats on the hike! That is so awesome!