One of the things I've always wanted to do, among my very long bucket list of amazing places to visit n my life, was to hike the trails of Pike's Peak. I had read so much about this place and saw all the beautiful pictures, and I couldn't wait to go.
I've been to a few great places already when I was younger, but Pike's Peak kept getting put off for this reason and that reason. Life throws you curve balls and you have to deal with them, and your dreams have to get pushed to the side for a while.
One of those curve balls hit me pretty hard when I was 49 – that's 4 years ago already. I was diagnosed with COPD and had to start oxygen therapy to get my blood oxygen level back up to where it's supposed to be. I was pretty upset when I heard this news, but I also didn't know much about it yet.
My doctor said as long as I was using oxygen therapy the way I should, there's no reason I shouldn't still do things I want to do. He also told me about portable oxygen concentrators, and suggested a few that would be good for me.
I decided to get the Inogen One G3 with the 16 cell battery, since it has the setting of pulse dose oxygen that I need, and it's nice and light and perfect for travel. I hiked a few other trails with it that were pretty high in elevation, and it worked beautifully.
I used my handheld pulse oximeter to keep an eye on my blood oxygen reading, and it stayed the same no matter how high I went. Of course, I had to stay under the maximum operational elevation while I used it, but when I was done using it for the day, I climbed higher and I felt great!
I felt ready to hike on the place I'd been dreaming about for for years. Pikes Peak really is what I was expected and more! I hiked Barr trail, which was safely under the elevation limit for using my G3. I didn't want to miss out on the summit of the mountain itself though, which I planned on driving anyway. I had to see the beautiful highway that winds around the mountain and above the clouds. So I made sure that I was completely done using it for the day before getting back in the car and hitting Pike's Peak Highway.
The view from the highway around the upper part of the mountain is phenomenal. It's a very safe highway, even though you're overlooking the side of the mountain at more than 13,000 feet above sea level! You'll see snow and rocks as you go higher and higher, until you reach Summit House, which is a little piece of civilization way at the top of Pike's Peak. It felt great to be able to stand there and look out at the world below, a good 14,115 above sea level!
Rick from Wyoming