And one of the things I love is hiking up Pike's Peak . . . or any big
mountain, for that matter.
From what I've been able to ascertain this
weekend there is still a lot of snow above 11,000 feet on Pike's Peak,
with some remaining lower than that in shaded spots. My goal today was
to hike up at least as far as Barr Camp at 10,000 feet. If I had time,
wasn't too tired, and the trail was clear enough, I'd try to go higher.
Snowy Pike's Peak beckoned in the distance as we
drove toward it on US 24 this morning.
I really wanted to get high enough to find some snow for Cody to play
in. Alas, it took us so long to get to Barr Camp that we turned around
there without seeing any snow. But we still had a (mostly) good time!
I'm including enough photos in this entry to have several pages so
they load faster. All of the pictures are from today's hike in gorgeous
weather. Most of them are in order going up and coming back down.
WHERE DID ALL THESE PEOPLE COME FROM??!!
I've been on the Barr Trail enough times to know that it is extremely
busy on warm weekends and holidays, especially near the trailhead in
Manitou Springs. Many people get there early to either run/hike up a
certain distance and back down, or to walk up the ridiculously steep
Incline and run back down the trail.
That made the first couple of miles pretty frustrating to me today. My
timing was poor; I should have started at 6 AM, not 8, and then I
could have gotten farther up the trail before all those studs came
running back down from their Incline loop.
Incline climbers have two places
where they can get over to the
Barr Trail; this is the first and
closest one. Many continue farther up.
When Jim dropped Cody and me off at the trailhead in Manitou Springs
the parking lot and much of Ruxton Street were packed with
vehicles whose occupants were on the trail already or were going up the
cog railway to the top of Pike's Peak.
It took me longer than usual to
walk up the first 2½ miles of the Barr
Trail on Rocky Mountain and Mount Manitou, two of Pike's eastern slopes.
There is another trail leading from the
top of the Incline to the Barr Trail at this point. Most Incline-climbers get on the Barr Trail for
a fast descent to the trailhead (they do a loop) rather than going back
down the steep Incline steps. There were so many runners
coming down at breakneck speeds that I had to frequently hold Cody off
to the side of the steep, narrow trail to avoid getting run over.
Two-way traffic is difficult in
Fortunately, we had a very pleasant
climb from there to Barr Camp. The runners going up and down between two
and six miles were more likely training for the Pike's Peak Ascent or Marathon
this summer. They were spread out farther, running more slowly, and
behaved with much more decorum.
In the early afternoon, the tables were turned and I was the
I was frustrated again when I was going
back down the last couple miles above the
trailhead. By then the Incline runners were mostly gone and the casual
hikers were out.
This time, I was often the faster trail
user even though I was walking, not running. I caught up to lots of
people walking down very slowly in front of me who were clueless about
letting faster pedestrians around.
The shoe was clearly on the other foot,
so to speak. Funny how my perspective on "fast" and "slow" changed
during my hike. "Courtesy" doesn't change, though.
WHAT GOES UP . . .
Even before reaching the tree line trail users can get some great
views of Pike's and surrounding peaks on their ascent. Another mountain
just south of Pike's Peak also has some snow on it.
An early glimpse of Pike's Peak
in the second mile up.
I love all the interesting rock features on this trail. Here are some in
the second and third miles:
One of the best places on the trail is this natural rock tunnel:
The trail goes right through it:
I'll show what it looks like from the other direction when I come back
I saw only half a dozen different kinds of flowers blooming along the trail
but there weren't very many of them because of the drought. The most prolific
species is dandelions
-- we're still in our Dandelion Time
These two clumps of flowers were in the first mile or two:
The new light green leaves on the aspens from 8,000 to 10,000 feet look
very spring-like. These photos show sections of the trail in the third
I also enjoy seeing new growth on pine trees in the spring:
Ironically, the trail is generally wider from miles three to six where
there are fewer runners and hikers:
That's probably because the terrain isn't as steep in this segment of
the Barr Trail. It's definitely the easiest section of the 13-mile trail
to hike, run, or bike. (Yes, bikes are allowed on the Barr Trail and
we've seen them from top to bottom.)
Continued on the
next page . . .
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil