Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 20, 2010 The Summit

Our plans for the day was to ride the Cog Railway up to the summit of Pikes Peak. We had reservations for 1:20 but we got there pretty early and were able to reschedule for the 12:00 trip. The Cog Railway has been operating on Pikes Peak since the late 1800’s and is a train that that takes you to the top. It takes about an hour to get there but is well worth the ride. The conductor gives information about the railway and its history and also points out areas of interest on the way up. Today it was considerably cooler at the summit than it was at the train depot, 83 versus mid thirties. The wind was ferocious. Its somewhat more difficult to get enough air at 14,115 feet. We had to do everything in a kind of slow motion.

We had enough time to get a hot drink and to try the worlds famous Pikes Peak Doughnuts. They say you cannot duplicate the recipe and get the same taste due to the high altitude. You can also get flavored oxygen. No…I did not have to get the oxygen.

On the return trip we saw a few mountain goats and a couple of marmots.

We are planning to start back home tomorrow so we still needed to go to Royal Gorge Bridge so we had to hustle. The gorge is over an hour away and it was getting late. We arrived in time to have a nice visit. The park stays open until dusk. Much of the businesses there had already closed for the season. Seems like most everything closes after school starts and before the weather turns really cold. That was OK with us. We came to see the bridge and it was worth the visit. The Royal Gorge Bridge is a suspension bridge over the gorge and is more than 1000 feet above the Arkansas River. Believe me…that’s way up there. You have an option of walking or driving across the bridge and we decided to walk. When vehicles crossed, the bridge actually heaved and the wind made it shake. It has wooden planks for the road and some are at least 2 inches apart and some are loose so it’s a little spooky. I found myself being very careful when walking even though I knew it was safe.

On the other side of the bridge is a zoo, of sorts. There are mountain goats, elk, donkeys, cows and best of all, buffalo. There is also a white buffalo. The Indians say a white buffalo is good luck. There is also an old western town and since we were the only two people there we got to act kind of silly. We got in the jail, climbed on a big giant chair and got in a coffin and acted like we were dead. We had a good time.

The walk back across the bridge was more windy and beautiful. The sun was setting and the rocks of the canyon took on a red glow. On the way out there was a group of deer grazing near the edge of the woods. We watched until more cars were coming.

Tomorrow we will start our trip back home. It’s been fun but you know.. There’s no place like home.

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