Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Top of the World!

Adventurous, I am, but after this recent experience, I can definitely add that to my resume.
My cousin was getting married in Colorado Springs, so I started planning all that I wanted to do in the 5 days I'd be there. Definitely wanted to see the Olympic Training Center, go to the beautiful and magical Garden of the Gods, and hike Pike's Peak. Well, hike was not what I ended up doing! Let me start from the beginning of that crazy day.
It was Thursday morning, the day after I flew into Colorado. I was told that if we were going to do Pike's Peak, that we needed to leave at 5 a.m., because of the many hours we'd be on the mountain. So, we started our hike up the mountain. There were many people hiking and running, but little did I know that they were only doing a small portion of the mountain. They were the smart ones! Picture climbing stadium stairs. Ok, now imagine climbing them for 5 1/2 hours straight. Well, that's exactly what I felt like during the hike. As we climbed, the scenery was breathtaking! Wow, this really is God's Country! I kept taking pictures during the hike, it also gave me an excuse to catch my breath. Coming from sea level, just walking up a few steps made me out of breath. After 2 1/2 hours, we made it to the midway point of the climb. I was so happy to sit down and take a break. As we were eating our PowerBars, a cute little chipmunk came right up to us begging for food. How could we resist! He's obviously knows the routine for getting the tourists to feed him. So, the first part of the climb wasn't so bad. The weather was nice and cool. I finally got to break out my awesome Champion System Team Snapple gloves and wind breaker. Let me tell you, at the end of the day, that's what saved me from freezing to death in the 31 degree weather. Hey, I'm a Florida girl!
So, off we went trying to find the top of the mountain. The incline got a bit steeper and I felt as I was struggling to breath a little more. We took mini breaks every 15 minutes, mainly to catch our breaths. Finally, we get out of the trees and could see the top of the mountain. It didn't look too far, but we were so very wrong! The trail had us winding back and forth up the mountain. We had to carefully walk through knee deep snow. My trusty Spira shoes can handle a lot, but they are not waterproof! Some parts, we actually had to rock climb with no equipment! Besides my shallow breathing, I was feeling light-headed, and really out of it. I had 2 miles to go, but really felt like I was not going to make it. At one point, I was telling my fiancee just to leave me and go on. It's amazing how altitude effects you! Finally, we reached the top! There was a restaurant up on top of Pike's Peak, where I spent a good couple of hours warming up, eating chicken noodle soup and their famous homemade donuts. Yum! It's still too soon to ask if I am glad I climbed Pike's Peak, but I can promise you that I won't be doing that again. Oh, by the way, did you know there are some crazy fools that actually do a marathon on Pike's Peak?!? Either they are super fit or super crazy!!! :-)

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