Lots of you came through with tips and tricks for my #CouchTo14er journey. For those of you who might attempt your own trek up Pikes Peak — or another fourteener, as many of these are general comments — here's a compilation of what I learned:
• Have a good pack with a water reservoir. Drink small amounts before you are thirsty, because once you get dehydrated, it's too late. (Suggestion of two quarts, with a refill at Barr Camp, or a gallon from the get-go.)
• Make sure snacks include some that are salty. And eat them in regular intervals. Kind Bars are good, and Clif Bloks electrolyte chews.
• Sunscreen! Hat! Layers! (Options: Shell, wind pants, light gloves, light fleece, extra socks.)
• Cut your toenails short (or get a pedicure about a week prior — "Nothing ruins a long hike more than long toenails.") (This particular friend lost two toenails after one of those long hikes.)
• Start early to avoid both the heat and summer storms. Plan to summit before noon, and have someone pick you up at the top or take the Cog down.
• Hike slow but steady. The first part up Mount Manitou is the hardest until the final mile/mile and a half. (Or go the back route, through the Crags — it's longer, but easier.)
• Wear boots that are well broken in. ("I always slather my feet in Vaseline before putting on my socks — and I wear SmartWools — and I find that really helps prevent chafing and blisters. Try that before you do the hike, just to be sure you don't mind the feeling. I always have Nu-Skin and Band-Aids with me when I hike, as well as Traumeel and Benadryl.")
• Additional stuff: "Since you're doing a peak, I'd suggest bringing a few things I wouldn't necessarily take on an average day hike. I'd include a headlamp, emergency blanket, a lighter, and some duct tape. Many outdoor stores sell mini rolls of duct tape, and you can get inexpensive headlamps, which are also sometimes handier around the house than flashlights. Plus, you can turn a gallon jug of water into a lantern by facing the lamp apparatus toward the jug."
• And last, but not least:
Don’t forget to look around; it’s really a pretty nice hike.
Keep sending those suggestions! Particularly any that have to do with good Front Range places to train-hike.