Kristina and I went on a hike with Abby last Sunday. We went to the Saturday night service at church so we could skip out on Sunday morning. 10 o’clock found us cruising through the gates at the Air Force Academy and heading for the Stanley Canyon trailhead. This is one is rated difficult. It did not disappoint either.
The trail does not fool around. It maintains a steady climb up through rocks and loose granite. You don’t walk up this trail, you climb. There are a few places along the way that provide a nice overlook of the Academy grounds but mostly you stay in the trees. Towards the top you start running parallel to the stream coming down the canyon. Abby promptly laid down in the cold water and and had a big drink.
After climbing 1,200 feet or so you reach the top and it levels out as it winds into the foothills. You pass through a small meadow and finally reach the reservoir. We had just caught up with a group of people when another group caught up with us so there were three groups of people, all with dogs, that arrived together. We all went different directions at the reservoir so we were quickly alone again. We decided to head off-trail, up a little valley, and then followed a ridge line looking for a place with a view to eat our lunch.
We eventually found a nice granite outcrop with a view of Pikes Peak and had our lunch. We wandered around in the woods for awhile taking in the beauty and shooting a few pictures. We took our time going back but continued to run into more groups of people coming up. Overall, I think we met or passed 10 or 12 different groups. The trip back down the steep trail went much faster but in all reality was almost worse than going up. My knees were hurting by the time we got back down and several times we barely avoided a nasty fall. I don’t know that I’ll be going back to that trail real soon.
I am pleased with the photos I got, well at least some of them, and I continue to get a little smarter each time I go out.