Pancake Rocks – Worth the journey


The first ten minutes I hate this hike.  This is an area I hike in often and I hate, I mean hate, the first ten minutes.  I want to start out slowly, warm up muscles, and then gradually climb.  Pancake Rocks trail just kicks your gluts from the first step up the mountain.  But I come back over and over.  Why?  Because of the beauty at the top.

Stacked rock at top of mountain

“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?  and who may stand in His holy place?  he who has clean hands and a pure heart.  Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.” Psalms 24: 3

The path begins right past the tunnel on the road to Cripple Creek, Colorado from Divide.  My friend with me said years ago, it was one lane traffic through the tunnel before they built the road around it. Traffic would stack up for miles in the fall Aspen viewing season.

It is one mile up gradually after the grueling first 10 minutes that I hate.  We branch up through the forest on multiple switchbacks for two miles to reach Pancake Rocks.  They are stacked rocks above and around you.  But it is the view of the Collegiate peaks in the distance that makes you glad you made the journey.

Collegiate peaks in distance from Pancake Rocks

Tree ‘graveyard’ is what I call the sacred area right before you get to the rocks.  The trees are twisted from the wind, felled from the storms, and rotted hard in the dryness of the altitude and desert.

There are always places like this on any hike into the wilderness.  Hard.  Sacred.  Take your breath away.  Stop and listen to the silence.  Pure and clean.

Tree graveyard

It is 3 miles down this puppy and my dogs are already barking as we descend the mountain.  By the time we reach the car, the real puppy with us is sitting down every few steps, our bunions are hurting, and our legs are shaking.  We have experienced a “moment to remember” on this “Hill of the Lord.”

What journey are you on that pushes your limits?  Who have you chosen to accompany you?  What do you expect to find when you complete your journey?

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