Acclimating Day

Date: June 07, 2009

Event: Drive thru Colorado Springs on to the mountains. We plan to day hike as High as Possible

Pre-Acclimating Day Comments

Arrive in Colorado - We are actually going to the Crags Campground about five miles south of Divide, Colorado. The campground is also the trailhead for the Northwest Slopes route of Pikes Peak. We are hoping to be hiking by 10am. As an acclimating hike we are just trying to get as high as possible. With the late start we will keep an eye to the sky and turn around at the first signs of bad weather. We are not planning on summiting.

The Northwest Slopes will be our first hike on Saturday, June 13th. Doing a training day on the Northwest Slopes will familiarize us with the trail, conditions, and the drive to the campground.

We have climbed Pikes by Barr Trail but have not done the Northwest Slopes Route.

The elevation at the campground is above 10,000 feet which might be too high for me to sleep the first night. I’d rather sleep at about 7,500’. We will probably drive to a lower location to sleep for the night. There is a good campground near Woodland Park which we might check out.

Post-Acclimating Day Comments

We woke up at daylight (around 5) in Kansas. There was not much to see in the rest area so we readied the car and started for Colorado Springs.

The drive was uneventful again, at least as far as the actual traveling went. What was amazing was seeing Pikes Peak in all its grandeur from as far away as Flagler, Colorado. At the Flagler Tower they advertise being able to see all of the western states and probably both oceans, but you can not see very far in the summer because of the smog. The spring air gave us views of Pikes Peak for the whole drive from Limon to Divide. Pikes Peak dominates the skyline.

From Divide we headed south a few miles to the turn off to Crags Campground. After paying a nominal fee for using their facilities, we headed up the trail. The trail we were on hardly matched the ones drawn on the Trails Illustrated map or posted on Oh, we did not get lost or anything, but when we returned to the car and browsed through our notes that we noticed the obvious changes in the trail.

Pikes Peak clouds

Clouds on Pikes Peak

The trail starts at 10,100 feet. We climbed about three miles to a ridge at about 12,600 feet. It was great to be back in the mountains, but it was very cold and windy. Not a very nice welcome for us from the Colorado Mountains.

Woodland Park Camp

We spent about four hours hiking and then drove to a campground north of Woodland Park. Last year we had stayed at the same campground when we were getting ready to climb Barr Trail on Pikes.

It felt great to smell the air and feel the wind (a little to great with the wind, but we can deal with that.) We were also happy we hiked as high as we did.

Tomorrow, we decided to go to Guanella Pass and check the conditions first hand. Should be fun.