I was walking up a steep hill, feeling a little bit of vertigo, when suddenly I noticed a few things.
First, the hills around Pikes Peak were becoming much smaller.
I had barely climbed the peak before I began to feel a lot more comfortable on the trail.
And second, the altitude was becoming lower.
The last time I was on the peak, it was about 9,200 feet above sea level.
Now it was down to about 2,400 feet, down from 8,000 feet.
“It’s a lot higher than it was in the ’70s,” said David Ebersole, a retired firefighter who spent 25 years with the New York Fire Department.
“The elevators are all much more controlled.
You can get the same thing by using the elevators, you don’t have to worry about getting too high and the elevator isn’t all that close to the top.”
The new route is also a lot easier.
For one, there are no long, narrow, overgrown paths.
Instead, there is a single short climb through the trees, with plenty of places to sit and rest, and plenty of paths for runners to follow.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” said Michael Lichtman, the assistant director of the National Park Service.
“Now we can have the people, the guides and the other people, we can just be together.”
In addition, the trail is much more open, with more opportunities for people to relax and enjoy the scenery.
“You can see more birds and animals,” said Mark Rittman, a wildlife biologist who was with the Park Service when it created the hike in 1975.
“In the past, if you walked up that trail and didn’t know where you were, you wouldn’t know what the next trail was.
We’ve made it much easier to walk.”
There are also some smaller changes.
The trail no longer climbs on two sides of a ridge.
Now, hikers walk up and down the sides, and can enjoy the view from atop one of the tallest peaks in the world.
“If you see an eagle or a squirrel, you just feel that awe, that wonder and that awe at seeing that kind of scenery,” said Lichtmann.
“I think that’s the best thing.”
This article originally appeared in the July 1, 2019 issue of Wired magazine.