In the last post, I talked about tackling Mount Quandary, our first 14er. In this one, I’ll talk about our 8 mile hike and the thing I never thought I’d try – an adventure ropes course.
The Peaks Trail
Back in 2016, we stayed in Breckenridge and did about 2.75 miles of the Peaks Trail (5.5 mile round trip). That was pretty good for me at the time, since I really hadn’t tried hiking in a long time.
The start of the Peaks Trail is at the top of Ski Hill Road in Breckenridge. You can hike it all the way down into Frisco (nearly 8 miles one way) though we haven’t gone quite that far yet.
This time, I’m happy to say we made it a heck of a lot further. We went 4.25 miles one direction and then turned back, for a total of 8.5 miles. There was a lot more traffic on Saturday morning than when we went two years ago, including quite a few mountain bikers – most of them riding up from Frisco, hitting the end of the trail, and riding back again. But we also had some trail runners and a lot of casual hikers like ourselves.
We hiked for about three hours total (90 minutes in before turning back) and made it a lot further than last time. I think we could have made it all the way down to Frisco – but we wouldn’t have wanted to hike back. 🙂
This was a heck of a lot easier than climbing the 14er earlier in the week, but I have to say I would not have ever seen myself attempting such a thing, let alone making it as far as we did, without crossfit behind me. So let’s call this functional fitness for the win!
Alpineer Challenge Course
What, you may ask, is an Alpineer Challenge Course? Well, it’s a ropes course at the top of the Epic Discovery complex that’s at Peak 8 at the top of the gondola from the town of Breckenridge. When we were there in 2016, they were just building the thing — but now it’s in full swing with an Alpine Slide, a roller coaster, zip lines, and a bunch of other activities.
Now, if you know me at all you know I’m not the most adventurous soul in the world. We hit Epic Discovery with my sister and nephew on Wednesday while we were in Breck and I was not sure what all I might be able to attempt, let alone conquer.
We did the little roller coaster first. It wasn’t all that exciting, but AJ says I had the brake on the whole time so I slowed HER down. 🙂 It uses the same basic mechanics as the alpine slide – but you have two levers to pull to brake. I used them a lot apparently, since she told me I drove like an old farmer.
I’m not a fan of roller coasters, but this one was my speed, and therefore a bit boring. 🙂
From there, we headed to the Alpine Slide. I did the Alpine Slide when there was one in Colorado Springs, way back when I was a kid. I remember a picture with my sister and I and a bunch of my Mom’s family way back when. So it’s been more than 30 years since I’ve done one.
We had to ride a ski lift to the top. Having never been skiing (yes, a few of us “natives who don’t ski” do exist in Colorado), I’ve never attempted a ski lift.
It was… an experience. I survived. A little rickety, but kind of fun. And then we grabbed our sleds for the slide and headed down the mountain.
Once I got going, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the speed — until I hit the little girl who went before me pretty much slamming on the brakes the whole way. I kind of tapped her from behind, but only a little – and then we went really slowly down the track…
And then we headed up the mountain on another ski lift to get to the very top. It took us roughly to 12,000 feet.
This was a bit smoother ride on a larger contraption, so it was fine. 🙂
We did the little hike at the top and took some pictures, and then attempted the Alpineer Course. Essentially this is a ropes course with a few paths you can take with different obstacles. And it’s the last place you’d ever think to find me.
Funny enough, I think I tackled all but about three obstacles out of 15 — and I had fun. Yes, that’s the surprising part of the whole thing. (I even met the weight requirement – you had to be under 220, so thank you to the last nutrition challenge!)
AJ, Ev, and I bounced around up there doing things like tightrope walks, walking on beams, dealing with short rope swings, and more. It was a blast. And a LOT of work — my core and grip was pretty fried by the time I stopped.
Here are some pictures my sister took while we were bouncing around:
As you can see, you are strapped into a harness and wearing a helmet, so even if you fall — you won’t fall far. AJ fell once on the log thing in the bottom right, but didn’t hurt herself much. Ev was the only one to attempt the floating “lillipads” and she made it a ways and turned back. But I think we all had a good time and will do it again. 🙂
Crazy to think we’d have fun on such a contraption – but hey. I was surprised and really enjoyed it. I don’t have much balance and was way wobbly on a few things but made it through. And if *I* can do it – you probably can too. 🙂
We had a blast last week – with a mix of activities and downtime — so I can’t complain at all. 🙂
So that’s it – the “fun” in functional fitness for this year. Next year maybe we’ll get to try and drop into a class at Breckenridge Crossfit. And maybe we’ll get to try paddle boarding as well. No ropes to hang onto when you fall in the water there. 🙂
A huge thank you to my wife and AJ, who encouraged me to do all these crazy things. And a big thank you to our crossfit community at Continuum, who have been a part of the journey that got me to the point where I would even attempt them.