Monday, August 02, 2010

Pikes Peak Part III

This weekend we discussed the trip to the summit and the concerns I had about driving to the summit and possibly experiencing the affects of altitude sickness that I have experienced before on the train. I can now answer what was causing the light-headedness and exhaustion. It was the altitude!

I reached the top and parked and in the chill air of the fog-shrouded summit, I could barely stand-up when I got out of the car. I stretched, allowed myself a moment to let the mountain stop spinning around me, and then went off to the rest room to wash my face.

I drank half a liter of water that I had brought-up with me, discovered that my stomach really could not handle it. I decided the best thing to do was to take a bit of a nap. I reclined the seat fully and napped for a half-hour.

I felt much better when I awoke. I drank some more water, and then, more sure on my feet, I got out of the car to take a bit of a walk around. When I asked Saga if she wanted to get out and walk, she demurred. I cannot say that I really blame her. The temperature was about forty degrees according to the thermometer fixed to the side of the gift shop and the mist that was falling would have been snow had the temp been slightly lower.

After a look around and a quick stretch, I headed into the gift shop and got myself a cup of coffee and a doughnut and headed back to the car. On the way, I encountered a couple I had met on the way up. They were talking to someone and they introduced me to him as I approached.

After comparing the pictures we had taken on the way up, they headed off to take pictures of the arriving cog rail train. The thunder clap from the direction of Cheyenne Mountain told me that hanging about on the summit much longer may be a bad idea.

"Do you have an extra seat in your car on the way down?" my new acquaintance asked. "Sure. Let me clear a seat for you. "

The descent was relatively good. My car is a bit too light to really get much affect from lugging the engine so I had to use my breaks a bit more than I really wanted to. And the rain that started as we descended fell in a variety of speeds from a light mist to sheets!

My new acquaintance was a mountain runner. Apparently he regularly runs from his place in Manitou Springs to the summit and then hitches a ride down. The conversation was a welcome diversion and the drive down was pleasant despite the rain.

The ranger stopped us at the check station to measure the temperature of my breaks (250°, a safe temperature) and waved us on. The rest of the trip down was an uneventful ride in the rain.

It was pouring as I left off my passenger in the springs and said good bye and Saga and I turned north to head home. All-in-all, a lovely way to pass a day.

Today, I start my new position, as a matter of fact, this will post the blog shortly after I arrive at the office. So, It was a lovely way to end my sabbatical. It is now time to return to the work-a-day world. I expect this next stage of my career will be rife with new adventures and more stories of the road!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you had a lovely weekend.

Don Bergquist – August 02, 2010 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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