Friday, August 5, 2016

Celebrating Dad's 60th birthday with a 60 mile hike! Day 1 Stanley Canyon

Back in 2006, my Dad had a crazy idea for celebrating his 50th birthday. Hike a mile for each year. Over 3 days, the four of us hiked 50 miles, all over the Pacific Crest Trail in California.

Fast forward 10 years and in the few months before his birthday, my brothers and I were trying to figure out how best to celebrate. I'm not sure who had the idea, and who considered it seriously, but before too long, we were all figuring out how best for the 4 of us to meet up and hike 60 miles!

Breakfast is already picked up and we're on our way. 

While the last hike was in California, this hike will be throughout Colorado. On the way to the trail head, we drove by some wild turkeys, and even a deer.

Packs all loaded up, the sun is just starting to appear, and we're ready to start our day.

Today's hike will take us up Stanley Canyon and beyond.

Half of this group lives at sea-level, and as we started moving, I could tell the air was a little bit thinner. Starting at an altitude of 7400 feet, we're already 1.4 miles above the ocean.

Looking out over Colorado Springs.

And the Stanley Canyon trail isn't friendly to start out. Over the first mile, you are scrambling over loose rocks.

During the first mile, you gain 900 feet of elevation, with some spots that are at a 28% grade! Man, these 60 miles better not all be like this.

Finally after 1.5 miles and 1300 feet incline, we're coming to the end and it starts to level out.

Really enjoying this wide open countryside.

At the top of the canyon at Stanley Reservoir.

We're not going to hit 60 miles in 3 days with just a short hike up Stanley Canyon though. After a short break, it's time to continue.

Jon and Patrick did their homework ahead of time to figure out how best to crank out the miles today. After leaving the reservoir we're off to Farish.

So peaceful up in the mountains.

Hiking down some roads and some jeep trails.

And some cross-country hiking.

Made it to Farish!

Smile Patrick!

I think this might have been around where the Waldo Canyon fire occurred. You can see many of the larger trees are dead, but the floor is covered with lots of new growth.

After a long loop, we made our way to the back side of Stanley Reservoir.

Really pretty day today.

One more picture before heading down to the car.

It's steep coming up, and it's steep going down. The stream that flows down the canyon can make certain areas wet and slippery. Nice to have those hiking poles on the way down providing extra stabilization.

Coming off a large solid piece of granite.

Finally coming out of the canyon and back into cell phone reception.

Day 1 in the books!

Nice job fellas.

How'd we do? Just a short 20.1 miles at a fairly relaxed pace.

And here's a plot of our hike, thanks to Jon. You can see that punishing steep section at the very beginning.

After a long day of hiking and just eating trail food, dinner is going to be something substantial. Pizza Hut has $6.99 pizzas with up to 10 toppings! Between us and the family at home, we're getting 6!

And if you can get up to 10 toppings, why not get 10 toppings on everything! These pizzas are huge! I thought I was doing pretty good eating 7 slices, but my brother Jon did me one better, eating an entire pizza all by himself! Carb loading for tomorrow I'm sure.

Someone else is liking her pizza too.

And if there's one thing I've learned after all my years of half marathons, it's that an ice bath will do wonders to aid in the recovery of sore muscles. Twenty minutes shivering in one of these will almost make you feel as good as new the next day. At least that's what I tell myself as my legs are going completely numb.
Tomorrow we'll be doing it all again!

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