Friday, September 7, 2012

Pikes Peak or Bust

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Since it is 63 miles from Royal Gorge, where we are parked, to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs we had to get up and go! Our original plan was to catch a Segway tour of the Garden but, when we arrived at the Visitor & Nature Center, we learned that those tours ended Labor Day. That was okay because we also wanted to go to the top of Pikes Peak so Rich called and we could still get on a train today.

This view of the north entrance was taken from the balcony of the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center. The Kissing Camels are on the right and Pikes Peak is clearly visible in the background.

We had time to drive through the Garden before going to the train and spent most of that time at Balanced Rock and Steamboat Rock.

I remember climbing around on these rocks when my family came here on vacation in 1963; Rich and I were here in 1993 when we seriously considered moving to The Springs. I love this area!

We're hoping to spend more time here in the next week but had to get over to the Cog Railway station in Manitou Springs for our train to the top of Pikes Peak. This too I had experienced on that family vacation but Rich had never been up there. I am always fascinated with how rapidly the terrain changes in the west. Here we go!

See the diamond?
See the sleigh?

Years ago this was where the section gang lived; this is at 12,129 feet. The caretaker's wife cooked & cleaned for the dozen guys who lived here with them. Any of you want to complain about your job today?

Yes, we are still breathing at 14,110 feet! It was chilly, in the 40s, but the sun is so warm in the clear skies of Colorado.

If you are not on your train when it's scheduled to depart you turn into a ... any guesses? ... a Hiker! harty, har, har!  That was but one of the jokes from the guide on the train.

We switched seats coming back down since there lots of empty ones. That gave us much better views and a very special sighting too!

There are several reservoirs on Pikes Peak; most are man-made.

A train headed up to the top as we are coming down. This gives a good view of what the trains look like.

As for our special we came down there were four Bighorn rams grazing on the mountainside. Even though we have now seen ewes and lambs two different times, these were the first rams I was able to photograph. Aren't they beautiful? Just look at those horns!

These are called Lion Rocks because the rangers have seen mountain lions sunning themselves here. I zoomed in close after uploading the photos but didn't see any lounging there today.

As we neared the railway station, there were stands of Quaking must know by now how much I love seeing these graceful, colorful trees!

We were going to take time to have dinner at Giuseppe's, a restaurant in the old train station where we had eaten the last time we were in The Springs. When we got there, we discovered it is now closed. Oh well, it was time to get home to the girls anyway.

Lovin' Life ~~ Visiting Special Places

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