Sunday, August 21, 2011
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.