Hike on Pike’s Peak

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.

Steve and Teri Maxwell

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.

This is a view down the steps.

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).

20 thoughts on “Hike on Pike’s Peak”

  1. How’re you doing with hiking in these smoky air conditions? It’s been terrible here in Parker, CO.

    1. The smoke didn’t seem to affect where we were except for haze sometimes. There was no smokey smell in the air at all. We were in Colorado Springs and Buena Vista.

  2. That looks so fun! You two are brave. This is something I know I’ll never get to do.
    Two weeks in Colorado?! Oh my! I’d love that! And I will someday!

    Thanks for sharing the pics.

  3. When my husband was in the Army at Fort Carson, they climbed to the top of Pikes Peak as a training exercise, and caught a troop bus back down. He finished second in his platoon…at 58 years old! At 74 he still runs the Vail Hill Climb over the July 4th weekend (nearly 8 miles to the top of Vail Mountain from Vail Village).

    However, we live near Colorado Springs at about 6000 feet altitude (and have several friends who do the “Manitou steps up, Barr Trail down” training exercise at least once a month). It’s incredible that you both, coming from Kansas, are able to accomplish what you do!

    It’s been horribly hot and smokey in Colorado, our hottest and driest August on record. Be careful out there!

    1. As we hiked on Pike’s Peak, we met several people who were hiking up and had rides back down. We didn’t know people did that, but it made sense when it was available. Quite amazing your husband summited second in his group when he was 58! We wondered how often those who did Manitou incline up and Barr Trail as exercise would do it. We flatlanders do feel the altitude!

  4. Exciting story and beautiful photos! I kept wondering, “What will happen next?” Thank you for sharing, Teri! Very happy for you and Steve to have this wonderful time in God’s creation. (Your family’s hiking adventures over the years have inspired me to Lord willing someday do the same!) 🙂

    1. I think what made it even funnier for Steve and me is that we usually hike with our children, and they lead the way. We have learned we need to be more attentive to trail information ahead of time and aware of junctions. That’s what we did for our 14er!

  5. Looks like y’all are having a wonderful time!!! So glad!! I LOVE the picture of the city lights at night! I love the skies out West!! You can see for seems like forever! Where I live in NC, you can’t see very far out (lots of trees and hills). I never knew there were so many stars in the sky until I went to Wyoming!!!! No city lights out there!!! It is truly breathtaking and I long to see it again one day!! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Looking out on Colorado Springs as we hiked that morning reminded us of driving into Albuquerque from west to east at night – beautiful lights in the valley.

  6. That last picture of the two of you is great! Such happy smiles. I’m so glad you’re able to be there together and that Steve is able to hike with you Teri. God is so kind, and you are a wonderful wife to have helped him the way you have with the new diet. To see him hiking and healthy is a testament to your diligence and God’s mercy and grace! I love it!!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Trish. Steve often says those same things to me in gratitude. Gratitude does make the investment easier! Love makes it worthwhile. Steve and I like to say we are a team, each supporting the other and working together. Through all our hiking this year there wasn’t a hint of angina. Yes, we are very, very grateful for that and for being able to hike another year. Another thing on the meals and eating – if he didn’t want to eat, or wouldn’t eat, what I made, it wouldn’t matter if I supported a healthier way of eating. We are a team!

      1. So very true! You two make a great team! Steve’s determination and willingness to completely change the way he eats have been such an encouragement. He said something a while back that I have never forgotten, he didn’t want his family to ever say, “Dad loved the type of food he ate, more than us.” Very profound statement.

    1. Merrell Moab Ventilator – both of us. One year we ordered several different kinds from REI to try on at home thinking maybe there was something better than what we had been wearing, but in the end, we stayed with our Merrells. I wear ankle ones for hiking and low cuts for our daily walking. I have been getting my walking Moabs about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of new on Ebay. I know my size, and I can tell by the photos if they have had much wear or not.

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