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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pikes Peak adventure

We had been to Colorado Springs, Colorado several times, but never to the top of Pikes Peak, so it remained on my Bucket List until last week.  We had two choices:  drive up in our car, one way: 19 miles and 53 hairpin turns with no guardrails or we could sit back and take a narrated tour on the Cog Railway.  We elected for the train so we could both enjoy the scenery.  The narration was great but the guide's humor was awful.

Blue Spruce tree
I did not ask my Doctor whether the 14,110 ft altitude would affect my Parkinson's disease; I never gave it a thought.  I knew it would be cold up there, 30 degrees colder than where you boarded the train, so I packed two jackets each for my Wonderful Husband and me.  The ride to the top took approximately 1.5 hours and was absolutely beautiful, the aspens were bright yellow, the sky brilliant blue with white puffy clouds.  We saw deer, marmots, waterfalls, alpine lakes and my favorite tree, the Blue Spruce.  

Cabin at 12,129 ft
I felt fine, until we almost reached the top.  I had chosen the departure time to be the warmest part of the day, since cold aggravates my Parkinson's symptoms and to be in the 'best' part of a medicine cycle.  But all of a sudden, my left foot began to cramp and my neck stiffened.  I checked my pill container and yes, I HAD taken my pills right on time.  What was going on?  I should be as fluid as I get during a dosing period, but instead it was as if I hadn't taken any medicine at all.  By the time we reached the summit, ten minutes later, I was very rigid and both feet were cramping.  I felt like a 100 year old lady.

Only Big Horn Sheep I saw
I got off the train and slowly made my way into the gift shop and headed straight for the bathroom, along with every other woman on the train!  It took me forever to get there, shuffling along and of course, there was a long line, so I just took my place.  Soon someone was tapping me on my shoulder, it was an employee and she led me out of line and to a handicapped stall and said "I think this will be better for you".  I was thankful and a bit embarrassed.  I think some of the passengers probably thought I was faking, but I wasn't.  I could barely move. 

Posing inside a doughnut

After using the facilities, I managed to walk around a bit and snap some pictures, I ate a high altitude doughnut (yummy) and posed for a picture or two and then it was time (thankfully) to get back on the train for the ride down.  Once we got below the 10,000 ft point, I felt everything relaxing and the cramping disappeared.  I felt better by the time we reached the bottom, but was exhausted (your entire body contracting is very tiring).  We got dinner to go and went back to the hotel and went to bed early.

Proof that I was at the top

Would I do it all over again?  Absolutely!  The scenery was spectacular.  Just look at the photos, wouldn't you be willing to 'suffer' a bit to see something like this?

White tail deer
Lake Moraine

Bev standing in snow

Pipe Falls

Snow at top

Minihaha Falls
More Aspens

Looking across valley
Down bound train
Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!


  1. you are amazing and inspiring! LOVE your posts! :) my husband was just diagnosed with parkinson's a few weeks ago, although we have been dealing with symptoms for at least three years and just now got a name for it all. funny how you learn to deal with all the strange happenings. now i read the suggestions and think - hmm, i was already doing that! peace and joy to you and yours!

  2. Enjoy your humor. I also have Parkinson's and it really helps to be able to laugh at ourselves. God Bless.

  3. I adore you, Bev, and every single thing you write. I have also enjoyed your book and CD! You are one special person. I hope you realize that!

  4. How cool is that? Always wanted to know what was up there and we drove by several times when I was a kid. No it wasn't in a covered wagon! Your reaction to height or is it cold was interesting. When MJF went to Nepal he was without symptoms and I always wondered if it was the altitude. Well we're all different. Million thanks Pat V