A Humbling Hike (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Made it to the top, but it didn't feel as good this time.


I've been hiking up Barr Trail to the top of Pikes Peak with some friends every year for the past five years. It's always fun, it's always a challenge, it's not usually this much of a challenge!  Last year was the biggest group and the fastest time.  There were six of us and we wanted to break the six-hour mark.  We shattered it, hit the top in 5:15. Here's the six at the summit. Far left is Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe.

We were all in really great shape last year.  I was running 4, 5 or 6 miles 4 or 5 times a week and lifting too.  Everyone else was on a similar routine and that allowed us all to get up the hill pretty quickly.  This year I was, well, not doing anywhere near that much. 

This time many of the regulars had scheduling conflicts (one even had a brand new baby at home in Texas) so it was just me and my friend Jeff.  I worked with him at a different Springs TV station in the early 90's.  He hadn't done as much conditioning this year either.


We were sweaty early.  Last year I really didn't feel like any part of the hike was very difficult, until the last mile, which is always difficult.  It's steep, there's no oxygen and you've already walked up 12 miles of mountain!


This time it felt difficult well before treeline, where we are in the picture above. It got tough after only about 5 or 6 miles!  I admit I got overconfident.  It was work last year, but it was never overwhelming.  I thought this year would be similar.  I knew I wasn't in great shape but I thought it wouldn't matter. It did.  Our time this year was 6:30.

It's still worth every slow, grueling step to get views like the one below.





Jeff and I agree that getting to the the top is still a great feeling in the head, if not in the legs. The training for next year's climb starts now...only about 363 days to go. I don't want it to be as hard as it was this time, or to take as long as it did this time!

I've said it before, if you've never done this, try it!  If you do try it, do train for it.  Take it from me and my aching legs.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward


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