Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pikes Peak or Bust

Thursday morning we set out for Pikes Peak. It had snowed the night before and we were told the last two or three miles were closed, but might be open by midday. First stop, though, was the famous Garden of the Gods. This is the view from the entrance, with snowcapped Pikes Peak centered in the background. The Garden of the Gods was awesome...nature has carved statues we could fit a cathedral in.

Sometimes we felt like we were standing on the edge of the world.
This one seems to be pointing the way! (and, yes, that's my intrepid traveling companion climbing the rocks.) Exiting the Garden, we headed up Pikes Peak. The first 16 miles were an easy drive, easier than Phantom Canyon. I was on the phone to T, and told her "this is a piece of cake!" We crossed over the Crystal Resevoir that feeds Colorado Springs. We stopped at the "shop" at the 16 mile post and found the road was open to the top. GREAT! (My mistake!... the next 2 1/2 miles held more terror than I have ever experienced.
Hairpin curves, 1 1/2 lane wide with two way traffic, visibility perhaps 15 feet. The scariest views didn't get taken because I was reassuring Michael that of course he could do this! Shots are thru the windshield because there is *no where* to pull over. We both felt that our lives were at risk. And all I could think was....we have to come back down! We crept upward at 5 miles an hour.
Finally, the summit. We were told on a clear day you can see for miles, and that location was the inspiration for the lyrics of "America The Beautiful." Our view of the summit? The sign says "You made it! The Summit" or words to that effect.

It was worth the terror...almost. We can say we did it; and they serve wonderful beef stew at the restaurant up top. And hot out of the fryer donuts. Thankfully, by the time we started down, the clouds had cleared. The downward road is steep, Low-low gear needed to prevent burning your brakes out. But breathtaking views.and friendly (but bored) wildlife looking for a handout.

We agreed we wouldn't have missed it, but once was enough! Our souvenirs? Two bumper stickers... mine reads "Got Oxygen" (because I needed some, and was grateful to the friends who urged us to pack some) and his "Real men don't need guardrails"

Next blog: the high country meadows.


Teri said...


Great photos of Pike's Peak! Visited there years ago and still have a gorgeous fist-sized piece of rose quartz that I picked up off the ground.

Glad you got to go~


Marge said...

Teri, all we could have picked up off the ground were snowballs!

Colorado is truly a wondrous place. I wish we'd had sun and clear skies for the Peak...but we have, so far, the rest of the trip, so I'm not complaining. Tomorrow we head North to visit some friends in Boulder and other places, then to Estes Park and Rocky Mt.National Park. Prepare for more 'photo ops' ;)

Anonymous said...

Marge, whenever my husband & i visit his parents in denver during warm weather, we always head out to garden of the gods to do a bit of rock climbing. such a beautiful place...