Saturday, November 20, 2010


As one season gives way to the next, my thoughts often go toward the Barr Trail.  The trail is beautiful, and it holds many fond memories - of New Year's Day "runs" to Barr Camp; of countless training sessions preparing for the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Pikes Peak Marathon; of "up and overs" starting at the trail head, across the summit, and down the back side of the Peak ending up at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp; but especially of time well-spent with the best of friends, particularly the late, great Ron Wisner.

The trailhead is at the outskirts of Manitou Springs, which is just west of Colorado Springs.  The trail is named for Fred Barr, who designed and pretty much built the trail from 1914 to 1921. Barr Camp was built between 1921 and 1924, and is at about the half-way point up the Peak.  Here is a graphic of the trail:

The trail passes through four of the eight Colorado biomes - The Foothills Zone (6,000 to 8,000 feet) is composed of small bushes and trees such as scrub oak, juniper, sagebrush and pinion pine and is inhabited by raccoons, skunks, various squirrels, deer and an occasional bear and mountain lion.  The Montane Zone (8,000 to 10,000 feet) has various wildflowers and small shrubs, but large forests of pines and Douglas fir, as well as the colorful aspen tree, are predominant. Deer, elk, bear and mountain lions can all be found at this attitude.  The Subalpine Zone (10,000 to 11,500 feet) is less hospitable. Englemann spruce, Douglas fir and bristlecone pine comprise the area’s dense forests. It is estimated that some bristlecone pine trees on Pikes Peak are over 2000 years old.  In the Alpine Zone (11,500 feet and above), tundra composed of tiny flowers, mosses and lichen eke out a cold existence in the short growing season.   Here are some views from along the way - if you have been there, enjoy, and if you have not yet done the trail, make plans!

Postscript - Compare the Barr Trail Pictures with the pictures I took Along the Maclehose Trail in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

And One For The Wintertime Denizens Of The Trail

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