Before I get to all that, I need to back-track a little. We’ll back-track to exactly a week and a day ago when I woke up to about 6 different alarms, playing variations of sounds, spread randomly across my little bedroom. There was no way I was sleeping through this trip (I slept through another early hike, and let me tell you- Ella was not a happy intern). It was about 3:30am and I was about to conquer America’s mountain. My new hiking camelback that I found at Target for 20$ was packed to the brim- water (#nevertoomuch), my DSLR Cannon rebel (#loyties2Cannon), rain jacket (#coloradoweather), and corn tortillas filled with peanut butter (#priorities). So us interns met at FOTF and carpooled to the 10$-per-day parking lot at the base of the Manitu Incline and Pikes Peak.
10$ per-car per-day sounds kind of expensive, but its actually really good when you consider that the street parking right down the road is 5$ per-hour. So we pull in to this parking lot around 4:40am and what do ya know… its PACKED. Not a single spot. So we drove down to the 5$ per-hour parking, thinking it was our only option. Now, I’m going to add here that there is a shuttle from a free parking lot in downtown Manitu Springs. This shuttle is specifically for the Manitu Incline though and wasn’t scheduled to start until 7am- sunrise. I’m in the backseat of my friend’s Jeep, shoveling down chia seed pudding that is loaded with mangos, watching the drivers try to find 4 spots close together, when we realize that the meters don’t start until 7am, and in order to add hours to your spot, you need to plug in your cell phone… and in order to use your cell-phone, you need service. And on Pikes Peak there is no saying where we would find that.
Long story short, we drove the the free parking in Manitu Springs and Keila (the intern coordinator) offered to shuttle us up to the trail head and not go herself. It was literally our only option. We began cramming in the car to shuttle up, when- what do ya know- the Manitu Incline shuttle pulls up in the parking lot- about 2 hours early! #Godisgood. So we began the sunrise hike. By 7am, we had a beautiful view of Colorado Springs and were on to second breakfast. (Us interns had recently done a Lord of the Rings movie marathon so quotes like “but what about second breakfast?” and “we’re taking the hobbits to isengard” were popular as we walked).
Its kind of hard to explain the rest of the 8 hour hike to the top of Pikes Peak. Scroll down and look at pictures now because they say pictures are worth a thousand words- and I like to think that mine are worth a couple thousand. Pikes Peak has a little giftshop/ cafe with fresh donuts at the top. We sat in there for an hour or so, inhaling the calories we just burned and then falling asleep at the long tables. Luckily we had a few interns who had no desire to take on the 12.5 mile hike to the top and agreed to drive up at 3:30pm to pick us up and drive us down. We got a few group pictures and drove down the steep mountain. Half way down, people checked our brakes to make sure they weren’t over-heated- if that gives you an idea of how steep this mountain is.
The rest of the day was spent hobbling around my host family’s house and drinking cup after cup of coffee to stay awake. It was my host parents anniversary the next day so I had offered to babysit Ellie while they went out for a nice dinner. Ellie wanted nothing more than to go on a walk down the trails behind their house and how do you turn down a 3-year-old? So I hobbled down the trails, thanking God that her legs are a quarter the length of mine. I was thankful though, when she announced that she was hungry for dinner and we began making our way back.
The next morning- because I’d been living with #noregrets, and refused to turn down any opportunity, I woke up around 5:30am to get to a church in south Colorado Springs for their pre-service worship run-through. My old youth pastor who lived down there had asked if I wanted to join his church (where he is a worship pastor) and play worship for all three of their Sunday morning services. I played violin and loved every moment of it, but was glad it was over by the time the last service finished around noon.
Looking back on this morning, I’m super thankful. I realized once again how #blessed I am to have people I know who care so much about me- there in CO Springs. People from home- who got that aspect of my life, but were also super like-minded and I could have those certain types of conversations with and feel super edified after. I remember having a conversation with my boyfriend a couple nights after- telling him about these people, but also my fellow interns. How like-minded we all are and how hard it is going to be, going back to my school where being a “conservative Christian” is not trendy at all. Or my home town where I surprised people when I announced that I (a girl) was going to college. Its been a nice reminder that there really are people at the same place in life as me- who are like-minded. I feel like God brought me back into the lives of my old youth leaders and into the lives of my fellow interns at the perfect time. Like right when I needed that reminder that there really are people like me out there. God's kind of cool like that.
I got back to my host family’s house was greeted by an excited Ellie who announced that they were going to a castle. Only a few days before I had been telling someone that one thing I had wished I could do still- while in CO Springs- was go to the Glen Eyrie Castle…. so naturally, when my host family invited me to join them for a picnic at the castle, I couldn’t say no. 6 years ago, my host parents had gotten married there and wanted to show Ellie the beautiful place. You can read more about everything there is to do at the castle (theres a lot) here https://www.gleneyrie.org , but basically the history goes something along the lines of Palmer- a CO Springs founder built the castle for his British wife who always wanted her own castle. Unfortunately they had to get out of the high altitude due to her failing health and she died before it was completed. Kind of romantic anyways...
Again, I won’t take time to describe the castle- go look at the photos… To make a grand finale to the crazy day, Keila had planned for all the host families and interns to go to a Sky Sox baseball game together. Baseball is definitely not my favorite sport, but I don’t care who you are, baseball games are fun. (Honestly I think I did more socializing and spent way to much time trying to convince the other interns that doing the incline within the upcoming week was a good idea- its fine.) Needless to say, Ella was one sleepy intern by the time I got home.
And now Ella is one exhausted human from this past week for #noregrets, so you’re gonna have to stay tuned for part 2 here. We’ll just say this- God is good. The other interns I worked with will be missed. Weather is unpredictable in CO Springs. And Syd is one needy Subaru.
(One last side note- my reference to sleeping through my alarm the other weekend is the reference to an interesting day in the life of Ella Zehr which I won't take the time to discuss. Instead of going on a super long hike to horn peak with some of the interns, I ended up going on another hike- on columbine trail- with 3 interns who had no initial desire to take on horn peak. Our conversations on this hike were amazing and by the end of the day I was much less bitter about sleeping through my alarms... and two phone calls... and three text messages (maybe I am still little bitter...). Anyways- I say this because I got some pretty sweet pictures on the columbine hike and have included them below..... Ok I'm done now...)