Pike’s Peak and Other Adventures in Colorado

I just went through all my pictures from 2014 when I was writing my year in review post and realized I have some major catching up to do! A favorite memory of the past year? When my girlfriends from college rugby days, Keebler and Audrey, came out to visit me! We hiked (and got lost on – scary) a 14er, ziplined, danced the night away to country music, and sampled tons of fantastic food.

First up – Pike’s Peak! From a late start, to getting lost driving to the trailhead, to rude guys at the trailhead (very un-Colorado-like), to getting lost on the hike up, to deciding we’d better take the train down instead of hiking due to timing – we made some mistakes, but we learned so much. This was our first real hike. Go big or go home, right? It is a relatively easy hike in that no technical gear is required. But it is 13 miles and 7,400 vertical feet up and no small feat if you ask us! The guide sites all say to avoid the trail at all costs the third weekend of August due to heavy trail traffic, but it wasn’t bad for us. We really only saw people during the first 3 miles, at the Barr Camp area and the last two miles. Some shots from the adventure!

Hit the trail an hour and a half later than planned, but got to see a great sunrise at the trailhead for Pike's Peak!
Hit the trail an hour and a half later then planned, but got to see a great sunrise at the trailhead for Pike’s Peak!
And we’re off! To the rude gentleman that doubted us… pfsshhh! Get out the way.

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First of many breathers. You can still see the town below, we weren’t too high up yet.
One more mile to go! The huge smiles were because this was after we got lost for almost an entire mile. The last mile is also one of the toughest, but after trekking 12 of the 13 total miles, this felt like a win!
Golden doesn’t mean nice. Or enjoyable. And not sure where the 16 comes from. But it was awesome to see this sign close to the end.
Those switchbacks didn’t seem like a big deal until we got up higher and realized how far we’d walked in about 45 minutes.
We’re still smiling on the 16 Golden Stairs!
Strained muscles were slowing her down!
We made it! 14,115 ft above sea level. 13 miles up. #nobigdeal
The joy of summiting a mountain is something the three of us ladies have talked about almost weekly since hiking this.
Calm and collected as always. Success!
Pike’s Peak was a good 14er for us to start with because the top is a total tourist destination. You can take a train up there instead of hiking, so we knew that if we got too tired, or the weather turned, or we got really lost, it is a popular trail. And there’s a way down. Oh – and donuts and hot cocoa at the top.
These are the faces of three proud, happy, tired novice hikers who can’t wait do their next hike!

A quick drive through Garden Of the Gods on our way out of the area was a nice relaxing way to watch the huge storms that rolled in as soon as we can down off the mountain.


So, the next day, to be sure we weren’t too sore, we went for a jog around a park here in Denver and visited the Denver Botanic Gardens. Sadly, the Chihuly exhibit is now gone, but it was such a neat experience!

My unsure face says it all… these two are healthy as can be, and I’m dying after our jog!
We don’t mess around with our picture perfect skyscapes here in Denver.


We hit the Larimer Square dining on the square event that evening and enjoyed a bottle of champagne under the lights with dessert. Followed by a ton of dancing to country music and making up for our healthy decisions with beer!

Retired rugby players clean up quite nicely if you ask me!

The next day, Keebler organized a zip lining trip. So into Idaho Springs we went! I highly recommend this for a fun family activity – we laughed a ton, had a great time with the guides and other families and generally enjoyed it.

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The weekend came to an end, and off the girls went back to Chicago and me back to my regularly scheduled Denver existence. But it was such a special weekend with these ladies! It also completely inspired me for the new year. More adventure, more nature, more getting uncomfortable.

When they first asked to hike Pike’s Peak because Keebler (real name Amanda, don’t ask) had a strange wish do it, I was skeptical. But, with a book in hand and a lot of reading online, I sucked it up. Thank goodness I did! We learned a ton about hiking, preparation, each other, and how to push ourselves. Can’t wait until the next one!


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