One of the most difficult hikes that we have ever done was our hike from the base of Pikes Peak to the summit. The entire hike is over twelve miles and has an elevation gain of over 7,000 feet (2,100 meters) to the peak, which is at 14,114 (4,301 meters). It certainly is not a hike for novices and was very much a challenge for us and we hike on a routine basis. Barr trail starts in the town of Manitou Springs and quickly ascends into the Pike National Forest. It was important to time when we did the hike because even in the middle of summer it can snow on the top of Pikes Peak, so we hiked in August on a day when we knew that the temperatures would be fine at the base as well as the summit.
The hardest part of the trail was when we reached the tree line at 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) and the air thins out. The Summit House sits on top of Pikes Peak and is a restaurant and souvenir shop, which is visible from the base on a clear day. Once you reach the tree line, the point where the air is too thin for plants to grow, the Summit House seems like it should be close, but it is still a couple of hours away. The total hike took us about 8 hours, although we took our time and paced ourselves.
For this week’s Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge, we thought that we would share a few photos from that strenuous hike. As we prepare to return to South America and hike in the Andes Mountains, our minds have returned to this hike several times.
We have always enjoyed the amazing sunsets that we’ve been able to see here in Colorado. There is something truly magical about watching the sun go down behind the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, it is just as spectacular as seeing the sun set over the ocean. This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is Earth and we thought we would celebrate the beauty of one of our favorite sunsets from 2015, a couple of months before we first started our blog.
As you head west out of Colorado Springs towards Pike’s Peak, you pass the popular tourist town of Manitou Springs. Despite the fact that it is where the cog railway is located and one of our favorite trails, Barr trail, that takes you to the top of Pike’s Peak, we haven’t given the quaint town a lot of thought until now. Perhaps the thought of leaving for several months has opened our eyes to more of what is around is us every day. This weekend we decided to head to Manitou Springs, wonder the streets, and window shop at some of the shops selling various collectables for the tourists.
The Pike’s Peak Marathon took place the day after our visit, which is where runners ascend Pike’s Peak using Barr trail to complete the 24 mile round trip. We hiked to the top of Pike’s Peak several years ago and it was one of the hardest things we have ever done, so we can only imagine running it, those athletes are in incredible shape. The town was extremely busy as it always is, but even more so with everyone in town for the annual event which draws runners from around the world.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops to choose from, especially if you want to take home some Colorado memorabilia. The buildings themselves are all historic buildings from the turn of the century and will definitely give you the feel of the old west. As we walked the streets, we passed by the Old Tyme Photography shop where we had our family photo taken about 10 years ago. There was plenty to be nostalgic about as we wandered through the town and went to the shops that we’ve visited many times in the past.
If you visit the Colorado Springs area, visiting Manitou Springs is definitely a worthwhile venture. There are also plenty of bed and breakfasts in town if you want to make it your home base while visiting. One of our favorite hotels and restaurants is the Cliff House, which was also the place that we stayed when we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. It is very much a tourist location, but it has enough festivals and events to keep the interest of locals all year round.