Travelogue – Colorado Springs

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Late to the party as usual, but it’s here. My mini travelogue on Colorado Springs! Ok so husband and I took this vacation back in August to celebrate his birthday and we seriously couldn’t ask for a more fun-filled adventurous get away.
We got in late Thursday night and had a big day ahead of us for Friday, so rest was a biggie. We stayed in Colorado Springs because per usual it was a last-minute trip and all the b&bs in Manitou Springs were booked, my fault! I would suggest though to anyone heading this way to stay in Manitou Springs, a little town literally at the foot of Pike’s Peak; it’s cute, quaint and there are so many cozy shops and restaurants, and even if you don’t make sure you check it out before leaving.
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Friday was our full day white water trip with Echo Canyon Rafting located in Canon City about an hour out from Colorado Springs (they are incredible by the way). I have to admit I was pretty scared. I’ve never white watered before, and so as you could imagine I was pretty much set on the idea I was going to injure myself or die. Kidding, but at least injure myself. We decided in true Bartelli fashion to do the full day class IV white water. Yaaaaaay!! (Picture me cringing) But it’s my husband’s birthday weekend right, so suck it up buttercup. I had sweaty palms the whole drive up. Echo Canyon’s full day raft trip takes you into the Royal Gorge. It’s this giant gorge that has an equally giant bridge spanning across it. imageIt’s insane. Full day started around 9ish and ended around 2pm ish.
My nerves didn’t die down till we got in the water, and I have to say it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had! We don’t really have any photos from rafting because you need both hands, duh, but It was incredible! Afterwards we chowed, had some brews and headed back into Colorado Springs since we had another huge day ahead of us, Pike’s Peak.
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The night before we loaded up on provisions for the climb up Pike’s. Lots of water, trail mix, apples, bars etc. we packed our layers and set everything up to get up and go next day. This is where our trip gets really interesting you guys. But I mean, according to google, this hike is friendly to all ages, old people do it all the time, blah blah blaaaaaaah. I even called ahead of time, just to get some stats on average hike times you know just to make sure we’re good to go. Girl tells me yea takes about 9hrs up, 6hrs down, we had already decided to take the cog train down just because our time was already limited and we had some other things planned to do afterwards..hah. I’m thinking, babe we got this.
So we start out early morning, get to Manitou Springs, and start to load up our water into our camel backs…our camel backs that have no lids to them..no way to contain water. So we look at each other, we figure oh well this won’t be bad, take two regular sized bottle of waters, and our snacks and start the trek up.
Apparently vertical miles are NOT the same as regular miles, AND apparently the whole “the air is thinner up here” thing is true.
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It was after we got to the part where the tree line sort of starts thinning out, not completely but it starts getting sparse, that things got a little scary. One we were down to one bottle of water, and a Gatorade that we picked up at camp store halfway along the hike. I for the most part couldn’t get enough of a breath, each breath in felt empty, and my heart was beating fast. We thought to ourselves surely, we must almost be there, nope. After the tree line is when the true climb really starts. All rocks and turns here and there, it feels like it’s never going to end. Oh and then there’s lighting storms, and that was freighting. Two guys who told us they had climbed before, turned back because a storm had rolled in, they didn’t want to “chance” it; and back looked like a loooooooooong way, after all we had just endured to be so close, there was no way we were going back. One girl passed out somewhere behind us, as we saw some medics trying to get to her. shit gets serious you guys especially if you’re ill prepared and clueless.
But man was it gorgeous!!
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We knew we had to finish and honestly it was the only thing that kept us moving, that and my genius husband literally saved the day. We had zero water at this point and we were at the top area of the mountain, the part where you can actually kind of see the end of the hike. To walk one mile in the thin air up at this area takes 1hr for a fit person, let alone an unacclimated person (acclimation can take 2wks to 30days). I would sit to rest about every 10 steps because my heart couldn’t slow down, and every breathe in left me thirsty and wanting more air. Oh and the whole “in memory of fallen hikers” plaque we saw didn’t really add to the whole ambiance either. We were struggling, and it was Brad’s birthday, so we had to do this. hand in hand we pushed ourselves, 10 steps, stop, sit, 10 steps, stop, sit, so on, and then my hero found us a water source!! I know it’s gross, but when you’re so thirsty it hurts, you’ll drink just about anything. my husband had found some ice (there were several of these ice mounds from the snowfall) and we ate it. SO GOOD!
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Brad packed our bottles full of ice, and we made one final push for the last mile. Finally, We did it! We kissed and Hugged it was a relief to be done, such a happy moment!! it started snowing, and we were greeted by people who rode the cog train up the mountain, (that ride alone round trip takes 3hrs). Exhausted. We ate a bit and rehydrated at the shop that’s up there, and headed back out to catch the cog down. Our finishing time was 10hrs, and according to some local hikers we met, was an impressive time for zero acclimation and zero water. Needless to say I passed out on the way down I was so tired, and proceeded to vomit after getting off the train, altitude sickness finally hit me, but we made it back to the hotel took a shower and ate a whole pizza, no shame. We felt amazing, we climbed a freakin’ mountain together, with zero water, and we made it. It was hard and it was a bit scary, but we did it. An epic f$&king journey as my husband calls it. It was awesome and we are forever grateful for that experience together. One for the books!
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The next few days were we checked out Garden of The Gods which is gorgeous, and did a little bar and shop hopping in Manitou.

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Our last day in Colorado Springs we decided to be adventurous and do the Manitou Incline. Do not do this if you’re fearful of heights. I’ve never seen or heard so many people vomiting in my life than I did on the way up. This incline is basically an old train railway system, the old rail ties are what you climb up. It is considered an extreme hiking trail with some serious grade incline, gaining over 2000 feet in a little over 3/4 mile. Very steep, very high. If you want to get the blood pumping, look no further. We hiked up and ran the 6miles down using the Pike’s Peak trail since the two are literally side by side. The view at top is incredible but prepare to climb and sweat. No worries we had plenty of water this time hah!

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It was an incredible trip and whether you’re into the extreme sport stuff or not, there is something for everyone here.
An absolutely beautiful, fun and easy trip. Go!!! Thanks for reading!! Means the world!!
Have a wonderful weekend friends!
XO
MN

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