Our hands were beginning to blister from grasping our walking sticks and every now and then, Lauren’s ankle would twinge in the wrong direction, causing sharp pain. We knew we made the right decision to turn back, despite our disappointment in having to do so.
We took another moment to acknowledge the brain injury survivors, who took on this seemingly-insurmountable task. At the bottom of Barr Trail where the trail links back up with the backside of the Manitou incline was now bustling with other park patrons. The “W’s” we previously traversed up with ease in the dark now felt never-ending. Finally, we made it to the bottom of the trailhead.
The BIAC Pikes Peak Challenge Volunteers at the beginning of the trailhead congratulated us and we received our medals. We were so happy we made it. We sat down and waited with two other participants for the shuttle bus to take us to the park to celebrate with free massages, sandwiches, t-shirts and craft beer. Participants and friends and family that were already at the park cheered every time another wave of shuttles dropped off.
Although Lauren and Amy did not get a summit during this year’s Pikes Peak Challenge, we had a fantastic time and considered the experience a success. We look forward to the opportunity to try again next year at the 34th Annual Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado’s Pikes Peak Challenge!