Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 10, Part I: Pike's Peak

Monday, June 16

Fast Facts

Starting: Colorado
Ending: Colorado
Today's Mileage/Total Mileage: 18 mi (29 km)/2319 mi (3732 km)

Considering we were in Colorado Springs, it was only natural to want to go to the top of Pike's Peak. There are three ways you can do this: hike, drive your car, or take the train. There was no way the kids & I were going to hike (Husband would like to do this some day), and the thought of driving the car around those hairpin turns was a little disconcerting! So the train it was!

Pike's Peak Cog Railway is a little different from a normal train - it has gears under the train that grab onto the track. Basically, this means it can go up much steeper hills than a regular train 25% grade instead of only 3-4% grade. [I also learned what the % grade means - 25% means that for every 100 feet you go forward, you go 25 feet up/down.]

The depot is nestled on the side of the mountain.

Since the train could go up so steeply, the trip up the mountain meant only took about 1.5 hrs. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. At the base there is a ton of greenery - trees, shrubbery, etc. As you go up the mountain, you see more & more rocks (there is a reason they call it the Rocky Mountains!)

Eventually, you pass the timberline, which means no more trees, and lots & lots of rocks. The white you see in the upper left part of the picture is indeed snow. It was in process of melting - apparently there was a couple feet of snow on the ground just a couple of weeks ago!

Finally we reached the top!!

If you look closely, you'll notice we were in full winter garb. Even in June, it was super cold!! There were actually snow flurries at the top. Bird wanted nothing to do with the outside, so she & I went inside immediately after this photo. Bug, far more adventurous, stayed outside with Husband for a little while until it was too cold for him as well.

Here are some shots Husband took:

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