One of our favorite events last week was a challenging hike (for flatlanders) up the Crags on the back side of Pikes Peak. Our family started going there 30 or more years ago and we always made that hike at least once when we were camped in that campground. At that time, the campground was free. The only amenity was (and is) a pit toilet, although the current one is updated and vented. We even packed across a creek on a log one year to set up camp. That isn’t allowed any more, but the trees we used to form a shower “stall” with our ponchos are still there.
This time, we took two very inexperienced hikers and two much older-than-before grandparents. LeRoy carried the pack with our jackets and food and each person was responsible for their own water. The new trailhead makes the hike more challenging from the very beginning, as well as longer than before.
We all learned a lot on that hike. The twins learned lots of nature science as well as family history. And the adults learned that gloves should always be a part of the gear for that climb! All of us had trouble keeping our hands warm while still holding our walking sticks. Touching the water in the stream probably didn’t help, since it’s fed by snowmelt.
There was rain in the forecast but we made it most of the way up before we ran into enough to make use of our raingear. Since we didn’t have ponchos for everyone, we used large black trash sacks with holes cut for arms and head.
No children were harmed in the making of this climb! No one was blown off the top, no one froze or melted and above all, NO ONE complained! The climb at the end was nerve wracking, but the view from the top was just as spectacular as always.
Not only did we find rain, on the way down we also found sleet, so we huddled under a huge rock to eat our lunch. It’s amazing how quickly a small snack rejuvenates tired hikers. By the time we got back to the campground, everyone was in good spirits. And you can bet we turned the heater on in the car as soon as we got there!