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I had to drop off some artwork for work at a graphic artist in Manitou Springs this morning, which is just a mile or so from the Barr Trail trailhead. Barr Trail is the trail that ascends Pikes Peak. It has been almost 15 years since I hiked on this trail, but since I was in the area, I decided to give it a whirl.
So, after a high protein breakfast of two turkey sausage patties, yogurt with fresh peaches and 1/4 cup ground golden flax seed, a piece of Ezekiel toast spread with all time favorite Four Fruit Conserve and a mug of my new found love, ginger tea, the boys and I headed off for our errand, and then our climb.
Barr Trail has the greatest base to summit climb in all of Colorado with an elevation gain of over 7000 feet. It is 11.65 miles long. One way. And the first part of the trail is considered one of the steepest sections with 13 awesome switchbacks.
We began hiking late morning which, temperature wise, is not the best. It was ‘melt the soles off your shoes’ hot out there. Because of the heat, I promised the boys we would only climb up for an hour before turning back.
So we began, counting the switchbacks along the way. There is no other word for it but grueling. Yet I didn’t really notice how steep the climb was until reaching a clearing and realizing how high up we were.
At exactly one hour from starting, we just finished the last of the 2 miles of switchbacks. From there the trail levels out for a bit, passes under a rock tunnel, traipses through an open grassy meadow... much more pleasant and less of a grunt.
However, we choose grunt over pleasant and turn to go back down the grueling trail. Usually, it takes only half the time of the ascent to descend, this trail took much longer. Going down, I really felt the steepness, a thigh burner for sure.
At the bottom of the trail I saw a sign announcing the days of the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon races were about a week and a half away. Yes, there is a 26 mile marathon that covers the ascent and descent of Pikes Peak, the Ascent race just runs up the mountain. Most male marathoners make it up and down the mountain in about 3.25 hours, women in about 4.5 hours. I can’t even wrap my mind around that one. Check out pikespeakmarathon.org for info on this amazing race.
Back at home and we have a late lunch of turkey hot dogs with pickle relish and Lowensenf, a German hot mustard that will burn new openings in your sinuses, all wrapped in a spelt tortilla, Yum!! And my head feels oh so much clearer too! I also have a Ginger Gold apple from Austin Farms, a local organic orchard. So wonderful to eat a really fresh apple again that hasn’t been in storage for months.
The rest of the afternoon I spent back at the computer. We’re gearing up for our new season that coincides with the start of school mid August and I am working on going to press with the brochure. After hiking, I feel perfectly content to sit at the keyboard for awhile... Ah, the sweet joy of stillness.
Postscript... In my last blog I mentioned hiking at Horsethief Falls. At the start of that trailhead I saw a man taking a picture of himself in the parking lot. I immediately recognized him as Steve Garufi who has a blog called Colorado Guy and his website is, you guessed it, coloradoguy.com. Anyway, being the obnoxious boor that I am, I yell out “Hey, Colorado Guy, How’s it goin’!” He graciously smiled at me and said the hike up the falls is beautiful (which it is). Anyway, true to form, Steve has pics from his hike at Horsethief Falls posted on his website. So you can see pictures of Horsethief Falls and Horsethief Park taken on the same day that I was there. How’s that for timing!
OK, so it isn’t that exciting but I thought it was pretty cool.
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