Pikes Peak or Bust

Editor’s note: Today, Lisa Martinez continues her ongoing series about an amazing adventure she has planned: a “14er” up Pikes Peak. LMH

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Colorado Road Trip Quick Stats:

Trip Day: 2
Route: From Amarillo, TX to Colorado Springs, CO
Departure time: 8:00 am
Mileage: About 375 miles
Arrival time: 12:30 pm

We woke up early to take on the final stretch to arrive in Colorado today. It was the perfect road trip day, sunny with blue skies behind the backdrop of the mountains.

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Stop #1: Breakfast
Breakfast at Cracker Barrel
Filled up our bellies, our gas tank, and then on the road a bit after 8 am.

Less than an hour later, we crossed into New Mexico. My first time there, I’m glad that we’ll be heading back to this Mountain State on the other end of this trip, as driving through it hardly does it justice.

Stop #2: Rato, NM
A quick stop at McDonalds to get Mike some coffee – and what the heck, a vanilla twist cone for me. Interesting fact, Rato means “rat” in Spanish.

Stop #3: Manitou Springs, CO
Just past noon, we met up with our good friends, the Kahlichs, who are spearheading this trip. Manitou is a small city where the Barr Trail head, the route we’re taking up to Pikes Peak, is located.

Since it was lunch time, it was appropriate to test out the local fare. We’re always up for Mexican food, so we ate at The Loop. The serving sizes were large, the corn chips were served warm, and the restaurant quite full of both hikers and patrons. By the sign of my clear plate, my Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas were quite tasty.

After lunch, Joseph and Simon wanted to take Mike where they had done some hiking the previous day at the Incline. The Manitou Springs Incline is the hiking trail that rises above the city its named after. According to Wikipedia, “The trail is the remains of a former 3 ft narrow gauge funicular railway whose tracks washed out during a rock slide in 1990. The Incline is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places, making it a fitness challenge for locals in the Colorado Springs area. The incline gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile.”

Simon, the teenager of our brigade, forged ahead to be the only one that made it the top and back down the Incline. The views along the route were quite breathtaking as well.

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The ladies opted to stay in town, as Manitou Springs has a quaint downtown area with lots of restaurants and shops.

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After our shopping fix, we made our way to the trail head to meet the guys. Along the way we found a charming little Catholic Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. There was a friendly, local woman tending the grounds, who offered to unlock it and let us in for a visit.

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The grotto outside was done in the fashion of Lourdes. Amidst the pines and sounds of the running stream, it was a peaceful highlight to my day.

We finished our trek to the base of the mountain to meet up with the guys, and enjoyed the views for a bit. Afterwards, Mike and I headed toward the hotel in Colorado Springs, the MCM Elegante Suites. A nice little hotel with kitchenettes, we were glad that there wasn’t the brouhaha of a hotel fire to deal with like the Kahlichs had experienced during their check-in the previous night. Apparently a guest had decided that the stove was a great place to set his laptop, not realizing the burner was on. #fail

Dinner provided a chance to meet Terri, a new local friend, at the Colorado Mountain Brewery. Terri lives in Colorado and had become a champion of Joseph’s journey to conquer the Peak this time, as she had also overcome her own set of physical obstacles in order to successfully summit Pikes Peak – now 4 times!

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Dinner at the Mountain Brewery was delicious. Mike and I split a Bison Burger that was arguably one of the best I’ve had. We enjoyed the chance to listen to Terri’s first-hand accounts of hiking this 14er.

Listening to Terri’s tales, I became acutely aware of just what a physical challenge this really will be. There’s a mix of excitement and nervousness, and a grace in still having hardly a clue of what we are really up against!

This post is part of my Colorado Road Trip series. Tomorrow we’ll be off to the “Two Mile High City” of Leadville to explore some high elevations, so come back and join me for the next 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.