Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Crags Hilton and Altitude Training Center

Paul Doyle came up with a quick last minute idea on Tuesday which was to head up to the Crags on Wednesday after work, get a run in, camp out, sleeping at altitude then get up and do a quick run early Thursday morning before heading back to the Springs and work for the day.

Melissa was leaving for a business trip on Wednesday evening so I decided to go for it.  I loaded the Jeep up on Wednesday afternoon and met up with Paul up by the Crags just a little after seven.  There wasn't any time wasted and we got on the road (and trail) headed up towards Devil's Playground.

Sunset over the Mosquito Range as seen from the back side of Pikes Peak
The run up through the woods was great.  The sun was setting to the west behind the Mosquito Range and the sunset was quite vivid and stunning.  I only went three miles up nearly to treeline then I turned around and headed back down to camp in the dark.

After an enjoyable run back to camp I had to set up my tent and as I was doing that it started to rain a little.  I took my old Sierra Designs Super Flash and it has to be staked out, as it is not free standing.  Anyway, the ground was almost impossible to penetrate with a tent stake but eventually the tent was set up and I moved my stuff in.  Paul and decided to get up around four a.m. then we both crashed, Paul in his car and me in the tent.

Believe it or not it was quite warm, even after 9:00 p.m. up there.  I fell asleep on top of my sleeping bag initially but all of that changed about 02:00 a.m. when the temperature just seemed to plummet.

The Crags Hilton and Altitude Training Center
I woke up just a few minutes after four and got myself ready to go and Paul was awake and moving around too.  I decided on just an easy hike up towards The Crags and Paul was going to run intervals on the trail then we would meet back at the camp site around six to take off.

Got back, started packing the Jeep, misplaced my keys, found keys in my shorts pocket... finished packing up and headed out at 6:17 a.m. back to town.  At that time the thermometer on the Jeep registered a whopping 36 degrees. 

The great thing about this little outing was that I learned that I can be up there in less than an hour and sleep at a higher elevation at night and come back in the mornings for work if I need to and quite easily at that.  It isn't my preferred option for altitude acclimatization but in a pinch it will suffice.

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