2-Mile High Adventures

Editor’s note: Today, Lisa Martinez continues her ongoing series about an amazing adventure through Colorado and to Pikes Peak. Lisa

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Colorado Road Trip Quick Stats:

Trip Day: 3
Route: From Colorado Springs, CO to Leadville, CO
Departure time: 7:30 am
Mileage: About 330 miles [Our friends drove today]

Our adventures began with a 7:30 am departure from our Colorado Springs hotel. The first order of business: Travel about an hour to Littleton for breakfast, checking if the Kahlich’s rave reviews of the restaurant, Toast, were warranted.

Toast was comprised of a few of rooms branching off the main entrance, due to continued expansions — a good sign. Many of the walls showed local lovin’, as they were covered in paper drawings by the patrons — small toast-shaped pieces of art.

We splurged our calories in anticipation of tomorrow’s Pikes Peak Climb, day 1. Toast is known for their pancakes, inspired by decadent desserts, such as “Key Lime Cheesecake” and “Bananas Foster.” They even serve a Pancake Flight to enjoy up to four pantastic stacks.

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After the demolition of chicken biscuits, omelettes, pancakes, and chicken fried steak, we headed toward Leadville. It is the 2-mile high city (elevation = 10,152 ft), and part of historic Colorado Mining Country. The impetus for this day-trip was to continue the effort of acclimating to high altitudes.

As “low-landers” from the Dallas area, best practices preclude arriving in Colorado days before the mountain hike in order to allow for acclimation. Altitude sickness can affect anyone, and is not something to underestimate.

Stop #1: Leadville Visitor Center

Riding into town, we pulled into the Visitor Center. A friendly gent presented the options of things to do and see around the highest incorporated city in the United States.

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Stop #2:

My husband and I love to explore Antique Malls. There were two floors of treasures from the past, many of which were items befitting Coloradans, such as sleds and skis.

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Leadville has the type of downtown tourists enjoy, with a strip of shops and restaurants through which folks can weave in and out.

Stop #3: Local Distillery

The sign “Distillery Liquidation” lured in the men folk, where we found them enjoying tastings of Moonshine, Whiskey, Ginger Beer, and Coffee Liquor. That Moonshine was serious business, and the Ginger Beer was sweet and bubbly.

Stop #4: The Golden Burro

We lunched at the Golden Burro, a Leadville staple. Guests are presented with a “binder” for a menu, comprised of more laminated pages chocked full of entrees and trivia than one hungry person can handle. Home-style cooking, I protein-loaded on Surf n’ Turf (with broiled Cod), and Mike tried the Pork chops and Applesauce.

We wanted to leave earlier, but a few remaining hiking items and the readily available shops beckoned us to stay. We also met a retired local miner, who shared his fascinating stories of growing up and working in that mining town.

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Stop #5: Drive home, some roadside General Store

This roadside gem sold everything from overpriced groceries to camping gear to VHS tapes. If you haven’t seen E.T. yet, go and grab it before it gets snatched up!

Stop #6: REI

Driving home included a stop at REI to purchase those pesky last-minute items (mainly stuff one leaves at home). With 20 minutes until closing, I’ve never seen my husband pick out apparel so quickly. With the forecast of possible snow at the top, a windbreaker atop layers just would not suffice.

Back at the hotel, it was a flurry of packing. We had to check out of our hotel before the hike at 4:30 am, and needed one last re-packing to maximize efficiency.

Stop #7: Walmart

12:30 AM was the unfortunate time to be reminded not to trust everything an outfitter salesman tells you (even when you specifically ask them if it’s a “one-size-fits-all-solution”) and to test moving parts in advance. My husband had spent many hours researching, talking with REI staff, and preparing for the various aspects of the hike—but every good story must entail a debacle, right?

Hikers need to drink a lot while hiking. We also had to refill our Hydration Reservoirs (the plastic water pouch with a tube and mouthpieces for drinking carried within your backpack) at the half-way point to the Peak. An easy-drinking solution and reliable filtration system are both critical in the effort to avoid dehydration and sickness.

Mike had gotten a filtration system that filled the Hydration Reservoir while it was in the pack, through the drink tube. The Reservoir tube simply needed to be cut to insert that piece (Sawyer’s Inline Hydration Pack adapters) into tube, to aid both the filtration and drinking. He spliced and rigged his Camelback reservoir with no issue. But when it came to my Osprey reservoir drink tube, he spliced but it refused to be rigged.

The adapter was too small. The water was going to gush everywhere…oh nooooo!

We tried our hands at some make-shift solutions (unfortunately the front desk’s shipping tape did not work), but with no success. Mike had to pack our car for checkout (which was in 3 hours), and then run to Walmart to resolve the issue for me. See why I married this guy?

Cleared out of reservoirs, Mike bought a whole new hydration pack. Thank God that the reservoir worked in my pack! He may even have gotten a whole half an hour of sleep before day 1 of hiking Pikes Peak. Not part of the plan, but isn’t that life? The good news was we were ready to hit the trail in the morning (in 20 minutes).

This post is part of my Colorado Road Trip series. Next up will be demanding day 1 of our Pikes Peak ascent to Barr Camp, so come back and join me for the exciting mountain trail stop of our journey!

Lisa Martinez

Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.

Copyright 2014 Lisa Martinez

About Lisa Martinez

A writer, artist, and silly-heart from her youth, Lisa Martinez utilizes a variety of mediums as outlets for creative storytelling, laced with humor whenever possible. Lisa attended Franciscan University, where she studied Writing, Mental Health, and Theology. In 2004, she discovered her passion for driving small business growth; now, with her husband, she owns a boutique digital agency, illuvint, based in Dallas and partnering with a world-class team across the States. Closed Doors Open Windows is where her personal blog lives on the web.