20 degrees with slippahs

Trip Start May 30, 2008
Trip End Jul 02, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Thursday, June 12, 2008

America the Beautiful..........
I know you know we all know that I am absolutely the worst singer..... hence im not finishing the lyrics to the above song. I left my hotel after an early breakfast of potatoes and sausage... yum, and drove the wee 6 mile drive west off of route 24 to Manitou Springs. This small town is nestled at the bottom of Pikes peak in a valley south of a canyon. Its very local and pretty easy to blend in... ok without a conspicous car . A plethera of eclectic shops provide you with ample shopping from everything from Fudge... to Navajo jewelry and pottery. I drove up for the 12:00 train up Pikes Peak. Tucked in on a small side street of Ruxton ave is the Cogwheel train station. I purchased my ticket and worked my way through an insane amount of people. No aloha!!! They bump into no manners... frickin people. Then they let their prodgeny run amok!
1200 boarded the train for an hour and a half trek up the mountain. "the Conductor" provided an informational trip, describing the discovery of the mountain. There is actually a man that lives part time on the mountain... some 6,000 ft up. The driveway to his mailbox is 37 miles at the bottom of a winding road. This is the tallest Cogwheel train track in the World. The train itself moved up the mountain at some 9 miles an hour. You can actully drive up the mountain, there are many hairpin turns and as one might expect you are driving through .........snow!! There is actually a race every year where people run/drive up the mountain. The man who ran up here did it in just about 1hr 10minutes. The man who drove up the mountain did it in 15 minutes in some tricked out Subuaru. There are several resevoirs up on the mountain, only one of them is not manmade. There is a tree on the n mountain that is over 5000 years old. I didn't catch the whole scoop on that one. At about 12000ft. there is a wood cabin that housed some workers in the past.. and one woman who apparently gave birth up here..
So we reach the summit at 14110 ft. Jump out to return all the water I had drank on the trek up. Went out for a few pictures.... Its bloody freezing... I take some quick shots... then run back inside because I couldn't feel my finger tips after only a few minutes. After warming up, I run outside again take a few more pictures then hop on the train to warm up. I was smart enough to wear pants and I also had a sweater and my dive jacket on. The weather I later found out was 20 degrees farenheit 8 degree wind chill, 25 mph winds and it was snowing.. I was not wearing enough layers and besides that I had slippers on (that is all I have packed). I am bloody daft!
After a long 1.5 hr drive back down the mountain I did some shopping around Manitou springs. Found some beautiful turqouise pieces and they were actully made by native americans. I have found some that were deceptively labeled and actually made in china.
I went over to the Cave of the Winds for the Lanturn tour of the caves. For an hour and a half I could a 2 on 1 tour of the caves. I was the only one on the tour!! I loved it. No people. Very cool tour. My guide was rather informational and provided some insight into the geology of the caves and the history. The cave is completely limestone, a cool 54 degrees. There were several stalactite formations throughout the caves. The best thing is for most of the tour, our only light source was the lanturn.... I wish I could have caught that aspect of the tour.... But the camera was not letting me do that.
Apres the end of the tour I returned to Manitou Springs for a nice din din of mexican food at the Loop. The place was rather busy, so I grabbed a corner seat at the bar. Chatted with a few locals, turns out the bartender was from Ohio. Great food I was rather impressed. I finished with a Horni Marquerita which in turn made me rather....... Well...... sleepy... so went back to the hotel caught a lil john and kate + 8 then off for some rest in this huge uber plush king size bed.... Bon nuit.
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