As we were driving up to the trailhead, we spotted this handsome fellow just chillin' out beside the road...
What are you lookin' at?
It was pretty chilly out, so we put on all our layers, as well as mitts and gloves! We purposely didn't tell the kids the length of the hike, so as not to overwhelm them, but we were confident that they would be able to do it (we were a little unsure about Caleb, but they all did so great!)
These three are READY!
This cute bridge was at the very start of the trail and seemed like a great "starting shot"
All of us at our first rest stop
The trail, scenery and vegetation changed so often!
(We let Caleb take the lead on the way up so we wouldn't overwhelm him and to keep the rest of us at a good, slow steady pace due to the trailhead elevation of 10,000 feet.)
Here we came out into the sunshine in a grassy valley
Gorgeous peak in the background
This is possibly my favorite shot of the day
(We are soooo tiny compared to everything around us)
This huge clump of boulders was much larger in person
Some really steep stuff on the final ascent
A short ways before the peak we came out into a clearing with this view
...and some people were passing by just then so we got this picture
...and a nice close up one too (I love it when people know how to use a real camera) =)
Not sure what type of bird this is, but a bunch of them kept following us, I think they're used to being fed
At the top! We made it! Around 10,800 feet elevation.
Different views all around...
These are the North and South Catamount Reservoirs accessible from Pikes Peak Highway
This is Crystal Reservoir where we had lunch after driving down from Pike's Peak. We could actually see part of the highway, probably somewhere around mile 7 or 8.
Looking to the northwest over Divide, CO toward the Tarryall mountains and more of the Front Range
More westerly view toward the Mosquito and Sawatch Ranges
(Can you see the two planes in this picture? We were almost as high as they were!)
Looking back at some granite spires in another part of The Crags
For the effort we put in, we got a lot of bang for our buck with the view at the top! =)
Caleb "signing" the log
They had to open this large container, two bags, and then all of these little boxes to get to it! =)
More photos taken by friendly hikers
There were also a TON of very tame chipmunks up there...everywhere!
While we were eating lunch, this guy decided to get very friendly with Keenan!
On the way back down...
Hiding in a cave...
...while Keenan and Moriah play on nature's playground (see them way up there?)
Caleb wanted to do some climbing too
All of them in the cave
Just the 'rents
...and we're back at the cute little bridge! Success!
The kids were Amazing! We hiked 5.4 miles and Caleb only needed to be carried for just under 1 mile. We are so proud of all of them!
When we got back to the cabin, these two cuties were lounging in the yard =)