Devil's Head Hike

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If you know us, then you know we hike Devil's Head every single year.  We do it with all our kids, which this year proved to be quite difficult!  Eddie and Sydney were champs but Mark and I had to carry Cooper and Palmer and they aren't the light little bambinos they used to be.  Mark had Cooper in the backpack and I had Palmer in the Bjorn (if he gains one more pound, he can't go in the Bjorn anymore).  So it's the last time my baby will be in the Bjorn.  Cry Cry.

Devil's Head is a trail that Mark and his family used climb when he was a kid.  We love traditions in our family, I think it's especially important for Eddie and Sydney, since they don't have one constant home.  We like to make sure they have some constant activities, that no matter what, every year we do them.

I want to give a little of Devil's Head history before I post a bunch of pictures. Devil's Head is actually Devil's Head Lookout, which is located on a large pinnacle of Pikes Peak granite. At the top of the trail is a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout tower.  Many, if not most of the major wildfires in Colorado are spotted from this tower, and there is one guy doing the job, his name is Bill Ellis.  Ellis is 79 years old, and has been doing this for 27 seasons.  He and his wife live from May to October right at the bottom of the steps leading up to the tower. They have to carry in EVERYTHING they eat or drink up the trail to their cabin.  That means hiking down to the trailhead and driving to either Sedalia or Castle Rock, to stock back up on supplies, which they then have to carry back up.  I just realized how lame it was for me to complain about hiking with two small kiddos.
Bill Ellis in his lookout

More than 15,000 people visit the Devil's Head fire lookout every year. The trek includes a 1.5-mile hike that gains nearly 1,000 feet of elevation, followed by a 143-step climb to the tower perched on a massive granite knob 9,748 feet above sea level. 

It's a really really cool little trail and a fantastic family tradition, that I hope our kids pass on to theirs.  

The Trailhead, of course we had our pseudo kids Rocco and Vinnie with us 

 My baby girl, she isn't a baby girl anymore though, she is a kid, evidenced in this pic

Since Sydney is the only one not in this pic, she is the one took it, it also provides evidence that I was there

The kids spotted a caterpillar, I have only seen a handful of these in my life, so I thought it was a great moment to catch

 Hi little guy, soon to be beautiful butterfly

They reached the top of the trail!  Way to go! 
This is the cute little cabin where Bill Ellis lives during fire season
Mark and the kiddos, still had to hike up these mean set of stairs.  I stayed down below with the littles, they just aren't old enough to navigate these steep stairs
 It was worth it though because at the top they were greeted with this amazing view
This is the fire lookout tower (notice all the lightning rods to make sure Bill Ellis doesn't get struck)
 When you make it to the top, you used to get this awesome little card.  I have a bunch of them from years past.  This year, for whatever reason they gave out rulers.  Lame.  I am posting this instead.

 Heading back down the super scary staircase

It was a great hike and if you live in the area, or ever plan on visiting the area, I would highly recommend it.  It's easy enough for older kids and short enough that you can manage to carry your littles. 

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