Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pike's Peak

After years of anticipation, and hours of planning and packing, Lisa and I walked 13 miles over two days covering 7000 feet of elevation change. 

Thursday we hiked 7 miles in about 4 hours, arriving at Barr camp around 10:30. 

Thursday turned out to be easier than we had anticipated.  Mostly we were worried about the altitude, but once we made it to Barr camp, we realized that it's at 10,000 ft, which is similar elevation to the Kelly's mountain house.

At Barr camp, we rested next to a babbling stream for a little bit before retiring to our cabin.  The Barr camp overnight stay provided dinner and breakfast, but required that we bring sleeping bags for the plastic-covered mattress bunk-beds.

Between our overload on food, and sleeping bags that turned out to be super heavy and too warm we were both carrying about 30 lb packs.  Since we arrived in Barr camp so early in the day, we wished that we had brought along more entertainment options.  We were both rolling light with only iPhones turned off to conserve as much battery as possible.

Other than each other's company, we found some super dirty ratty Uno cards (Lisa wouldn't use them) and a set of 1980s trivial pursuit question cards with no board or pieces in the cabin.  Dinner was a provided by the camp - it tasted fantastic, but we all agreed that if we had eaten the same thing at home or out that we'd throw away the recipe.  The pancakes the next morning were the same.  We were all glad that we didn't have to schlep more food.  Without any kind of entertainment or electricity we all cashed out pretty early around 9P.  Despite the loud rustling of plastic-covered mattresses and sleeping bags we all slept pretty well.

Despite the ease of Thursday we were all pretty anxious starting out on Friday.  The second leg is shorter, but carries much more elevation rise.  We had read that the second half of the trail is quite a bit tougher which turned out to be true.  We were all very thankful for our trekking poles on the rough terrain.  I'm sure that they prevented at least three twisted ankles per day for me alone.

The last few miles of Friday was the biggest challenge.  We could definitely feel the altitude, with small headaches, and a little bit of lightheadedness.  Upon reaching the summit we were greeted by throngs of tourists who had either taken the cog railway, or driven up to the top.  The Friday journey took 4 hours to cover 6 miles.  We enjoyed some nasty concession-stand food that tasted better than anything, and marveled at the amount of food consumed by the folks who had driven up the mountain.

This week is Pike's Peak Week on All Things Kelly please be sure to head over there this week for more about our trip. 

If you're interested in more detailed data, you can find our route, pace, elevation profile, and my heart rate for Day 1 and  Day 2 on runkeeper.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pike's Prep

Introducing our Pike's Peak Team - Leon and Heather Kelly, Marc and Lisa Kohli, Geri Johnson and Kathy Edwards.

As it turns out that you don't just decide to walk up a 14,000 ft mountain one day and do it the next. These endeavors take planning, tons of gear from REI, and hard work to pull off.

Leon is a natural, so for him it's mostly throwing some stuff in a backpack and going on a walk.

Heather, Geri and Kathy have been working diligently with personal trainers to prep for the altitude and long walk.

Lisa and I decided to take up running and did some altitude training while in Kenya :-)   Lisa, Geri, Kathy, and I also did a few test hikes with the backpacks in Eagle Creek and Morgan Monroe State Forest.

Luckily we have three organizational experts making sure that we have enough food, have accommodations booked for Barr Camp, all the right clothes, and a ride back down the mountain.  One of the critical organizational decisions was to pack the packs on Monday night.  This was great for a few reasons - it gave us an opportunity to make sure that we had everything that we need while we still had time to go to REI and pick up more gear (which of course we did).  Luckily too, Geri was able to identify a missing rain jacket in time for it to be shipped.  We went to bed Monday confident and excited for a test-hike on Tuesday.

You can imagine our sadness and disappointment when Kathy, shortly after waking up developed a severe pain in her back.  The poor thing could hardly walk back from the coffee store without assistance. Despite therapy with multiple medications and the Kelly's magic heat compression device Kathy won't be able to hike :-(  Geri, not wanting to leave her girl behind alone has decided to abort as well.

Geri, Lisa and I had an uneventful test hike (pictures above) - traveling about 5 miles over 1000 feet of rise, which is about 1/2-1/3 of what we'll do tomorrow.  The gear was working well and only required a few tweaks.

We start tomorrow morning at 0530, ugh.