Jul

26

One hell of a challenging hike

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At the foothills of Pike Peaks there is a retired cog railway line that has been converted into a hiking trail on loosely guarded private property. When i say loosely guarded i mean it. There is a parking lot at the trail head for Pete’s sake! Fact of the matter is that this is one of the most fun and challenging hikes i have taken. I’m not one to experience nature as most hikers do. I would prefer to physically challenge myself on a bicycle or by running the trail. This is a an animal of a different sort. My approach to the trail was through the town of Manitou Springs. It can be seen as the thin line scaling up the mountain in the photo above.

 

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The trail head leads you from a small parking lot onto the trail at an elevation of 6000 ft. The trail is terraced with railroad timbers that are staggered at random distances and get slightly more precarious as you ascend.

 

 

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The pitch of the climb varies at a few points on the trail. The worst of it being over 60 degrees with the average being around 40 degrees. The picture above is taken at eye level to illustrate how steep this thing is!

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This is approximately half way up the climb. I can only imagine that this what its like for an Olympic Ski Jumper to look down from his starting gate.

 

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View from the top. Elevation is 8543 feet and the linear distance traveled is just shy of 1 mile. So that is roughly one half mile vertical for one mile linear. My buddy that took my on this climb pointed out that many Olympians in training utilize this trail in there regimens. The official training facility is somewhere in Colorado Springs which is only a short drive away and was proven by seeing a few hikers in the officially training gear. Scaling down this trail; i beat my buddy up the trail and decided to hike down to him to pace him up to the finish (he blames cigarettes and pie for his slowness, i would probably agree) on shaky legs is a daring feat. Luckily there is a more traditional hiking trail that we were able to descend upon. This is called the Barr trail and if taken from its trail head will guide you all the way to the apex of Pikes Peak. Lastly, locals say that the record for ascending this climb is 18:45. I took the first half kind of slow and leisurely and pushed a solid effort for the second half and did it in 1:18:09. Thought i could run the the first section. I decided to slow down when i could feel my heart beat in my feet. So if the locals are right, I tip my hat to the fellow he hammered through this thing in 18:45.

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