There have been times this week that I felt like we were in a time warp, back about 28 years to be exact. That was the year we came to Colorado for two weeks of backpacking and camping. After a week of getting acclimated to altitude at the Crags, LeRoy and I, Rob 13 and Heidi 11, hiked up the Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak and back down to the trailhead in Manitou Springs. This year, Heidi’s twins Ben and Bailey are going over some of the same territory at the same age she was then, 11. This time, though, the trailhead was as far as we went.
The picture is at the top where the trail goes down.
We chose to get to the summit by means of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in a car like this one. We passed this car on a siding on the way up. The route is so steep that at one point the front of the front car was three stories higher than the back of the rear one.
At the top we were wishing we had remembered our gloves, but the fresh hot doughnuts helped warm us a little. Jackets were great but we hadn’t thought we’d need real coats…WRONG! The temperature at the top was 45 degrees and the wind chill was 37. A little altitude sickness with one child a little green around the gills on the way down was the only lingering effect but by the time we were back at the bus, all was well. No one has missed a meal yet. This picture gave us a little deja vu. I’m sure if I looked far enough, I could find one taken in 1983 that would look very similar, even to the placement of the kids.
We found an interesting discrepancy in quoted altitude for the Peak. On the way up, our conductor Taylor told us that the altitude is 14,115 ft. but all the souvenirs we already had and the ones that were for sale at the summit told us it was 14,110. It seems that just within the last year they have measured the mountain using GPS technology and discovered that it is actually 5 feet taller than they had said previously.
Thinking about that trip now, I have to wonder what we were thinking back then. What made us think that we could accomplish that monumental feat? I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t think too long and hard about it and just did it. I remember Rob saying on the way down that when he grew up, no one would EVER make him do something like that again! And today he’s a career soldier who goes on long hikes and jumps out of airplanes on a regular basis. Who would have thought??