Pike's Peak or Bust
Trip Start May 11, 2012
23Trip End Jun 08, 2012
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Today was the high point of the trip for me…pun intended. Pike’s Peak or bust. We got to the gatehouse at 9 AM, when they open. There were others ahead of us and, thanks to a very talkative park ranger, our line went very slowly, but eventually we got inside and started the ride up to the top. We began at about 6,000 ft. elevation and the peak is at 14,110 ft., and 19 miles of driving up, up, up. At first the road snaked through wooded areas with stops for hikers to pick up the trail, a picnic area and even a gift shop…just in case you don’t make it to the top, I guess
Early on, we stopped at the reservoir, a dam that creates a large pool of water that is the water supply for Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. It was a beautiful sight, couched by a backdrop of the mountains. A few people were fishing and we spoke to a man with a dog who had
just caught half a dozen trout.
A winding road, sometimes cut through the mountain side, exposing rusty red rock, took us above the tree line and hairpin turn after hairpin turn landed us at the top, up with the clouds. There was still snow on the ground in places. Beamer was not interested in getting familiar with that stuff. He wanted to be back in the car.
When we had departed at the bottom, the temperature was 66 degrees. By the time we reached the top, it was 36 degrees. We had been told that there would be a 30 degree difference. And while we were up there, it dropped to 30 degrees. With a stiff wind, the chill had to be in the teens.
After taking some photos, we began our decent. And if the view going up was great, the view going down was absolutely fabulous. We stopped a few times to take photos. Now I understand the name Rocky Mountains. The word for the day is ROCKY, because everywhere we looked, there were rocks, separate from the cliffs and mountain. They were huge and round and smooth and faded by the sun, in all sizes, often clustered together, sometimes at precarious angles threatening to fall and roll down the hill. What keeps them in place is a mystery to me.
There was one required stop on the way down. The rangers check the temperature of your brakes to be sure they are not overheating. They stop you if they are 300 degrees. Ours were 210 degrees and we were allowed to continue the ride down to the bottom. We got there around noon, snow falling on the windshield for a brief period, and began our drive to Salida, CO where we
planned to stay for the night.
The drive took us through mountain passes, offering up beautiful vistas to enjoy
On the other side, we crossed the Arkansas River and it followed us into Salida where we stopped at about 4 PM for the night.