In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
As we start the new year, it's the perfect time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future.
That's exactly what I wanted to do by taking a look back at my favorite adventures from the past year.
With so many great ones to choose from (26 total from 2022), it really wasn't easy to narrow this list down to 5. To make it easier, I didn't repeat anything previously featured in my Best of Winter Adventures. I also tried to showcase different types of adventures to offer up some variety.
Hiking to the top of Mt. Elbert, Colorado's tallest peak
One of 58 fourteeners in Colorado, the hike to the top of Elbert is long and challenging.
It covers 11.5 miles and nearly 4,500 vertical feet from top to bottom.
It's not for everyone this adventure, but the payoff for those brave enough to try it is well worth it.
Plan for a full day when hiking Mt. Elbert. We were on the trail for 7 hours, and by the time we got back to the trailhead, we were exhausted.
Overall, I have to say that I'm glad to have checked this off my list as the second fourteener that I've hiked.
Trampoline gymnastics with world-ranked gymnast Ryan Maccagnan
Colorado Springs native Ryan Maccagnan has his sights set on Paris in 2024.
After winning the senior national title this past June and placing fourth at the most recent junior world championships, his coach Terri DeVries seems to think that he's on the right path.
Earlier this year, he and his coach were kind enough to allow our cameras into his training facility at Stars Gymnastics in Colorado Springs.
Maccagnan's skills on the trampoline are impressive, and he's a pretty good teacher too.
As a one-time collegiate springboard and platform diver at the University of Alabama, getting to play around in the gym while interviewing Maccagnan was a blast!
But full disclosure, after pulling off a few tricks myself, this one-time athlete was sore afterward for almost a week!
Pickleball is a blast!
Fun, fast-paced and full of excitement, pickleball is now considered America's fastest-growing sport.
For those not familiar, it can best be described as a combination of tennis, volleyball, badminton and ping pong.
I took my very first lesson this past summer with the Pikes Peak Pickleball Association ("PPPA") at Monument Valley Park in Downtown Colorado Springs.
It's one of several meet-up spots for the PPPA.
If you're looking to get involved, PPPA offers free lessons, round robin tournaments and daily meet-ups groups for their members.
Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie Castle e-bike tour
"It's the best way to see the park," said Amp'd Adventures tour guide Austin Quillin.
Another great adventure has to be the e-bike tour that I did last summer at Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie Castle.
Even after living here for three years, this tour, I promise to provide you with new knowledge of Garden of the Gods.
After spending about an hour in Garden of the Gods, our next at Glen Eyrie Castle was the highlight of the tour for me.
The castle is the former home to General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs.
The popular combo tour covers 10 miles in 2 hours and comes highly recommended as a fresh new way to see some of our city's most recognizable landmarks.
Pikes Peak and its world-famous donuts
America's Mountain is one of only two fourteeners in the state that allows visitors the chance to drive to the summit.
While the road to Pikes Peak is open year-round (weather dependent), the road to Mt. Evans is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The 19-mile journey to the top of Pikes Peak is a winding journey, complete with scenic views and hairpin turns.
Once at the newly renovated summit house, we had the chance to meet up with Food & Beverage Manager Chef Tyler.
Chef Tyler tells us that the cinnamon sugar donuts are the most popular, and after devouring three, I must say that I agree.
Chef Tyler claims that these tasty treats are the only donuts made at this elevation, and visitors just can't seem to get enough of them.
"Man, when we're rocking and rolling and the trains are coming, we can easily do 2,300 to 2,600 donuts a day," said Chef Tyler.
But a word of caution, make sure to enjoy them on the summit because rumor has it, they're known to deflate due to pressure changes as you head back down the mountain.
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