Steve and I decided a good training hike for a possible 14er our second week in Colorado would be to hike a ways up Pike’s Peak, (on the Barr trail) while we were staying in Colorado Springs the first week. Pike’s Peak is a 26 mile round trip 14er, not something we would be capable of doing in a day.
We arrived at the trailhead at 4:30 a.m. so we hiked the first 1.5 hours in the dark using headlamps. That gave us beautiful views of the lights of Colorado Springs. It also gave us quite a surprise at about 2 miles up.
There we reached a place where we had to climb some steep steps. They were so steep, we had to lean forward and use our hands for support for the next step, much like climbing a ladder. After about ten or twelve of those steps, thinking we must be about done with them, we looked up, since it was just getting to be a bit light, only to see the steps go on and on and on. We both knew we couldn’t make it up them. So we began to slowly clamber back down.
About that time, a very fit young man passed us going up the steps. In our conversation with him, we discovered we had made a wrong turn in the dark (just a few feet back), left the Barr trail that goes to Pike’s Peak, and had gotten on the Manitou Incline. The Manitou Incline is a series of 2,744 steps that gain 2,000 feet elevation in a little less than a mile.
We backtracked and found the trail again. We were impressed as we hiked on to find out that some people (obviously quite fit) climb the Manitou Incline and then run down the Barr trail. We met several of them as we continued our hike.
At about 2.5 miles up the trail, we stopped to talk to some hikers who were taking a break. When we picked up our hike, we hadn’t realized we were at a junction and ended up heading the wrong direction for about a half mile before discovering our mistake.
We hoped to make it to the Pike’s Peak base camp, which is about 6.5 miles up the trail, but decided with the extra mileage of our wrong turn and how long we had been hiking, that we should turn around at the 5 mile marker.
We were happy we did. Going down, the temperatures quickly rose to close to 90, and for the last 3 miles we were hotter than we have ever been on a Colorado hike. In the end, we clocked 12.25 miles with 2600 feet elevation gain. From start to finish, it took us 6.5 hours.
Trusting in Jesus,
“And the heavens shall declare his righteousness:
for God is judge himself. Selah” (Psalm 50:6).