Hiking the Long Trail Up Pikes Peak

One of the first fourteeners I ever hiked was Pikes Peak. Adam and I did the trip in June 2004. It’s an incredibly beautiful mountain with a lot of culture and history connected to it. And it looms over the southeast plains as one of the high points that sits furthest to the east in the Rockies. Adam and I opted to hike to the top over the course of two days, camping at 10,000 feet above sea level to acclimate ourselves better to the 14,114 ft. high altitude at the summit. On the other side of the mountain, however, you can drive your car to the summit, or even take the Cog Railroad car from Manitou Springs. It was an interesting experience hiking to the summit and witnessing scores of people exit the rail car and take turns catching their breath at the oxygen bar in the new summit house. Equally amazing was our own breathless straining to make the summit, but having a few men in their sixties jog past us on their way up, and then again on their way down. As they passed us the second time, they were kind enough to tell us the “summit looks nice today,” as we tried to communicate our winded thanks.

The trip was incredibly fun, and it was likely the single defining experience that solidified in me a love for high-altitude hiking. Here are some shots I took on the way up and the way down. I’m looking forward to hiking that peak again.

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