I’m one of those kids who grew up reading an excessive amount of stories about going West and spent countless hours pretending I was part of a wagon train and working through all of the hardships we’d endure. (Who am I kidding? My little brother and I still pretend that we’re going out West sometimes.)
For the last decade I’ve been trying to figure out a way to take a road trip across the USA, and although that hasn’t happened yet, I have had the privilege of flying to California a couple of times, driving (well, being a passenger) to Nebraska once, and now I’m in Colorado for the third time. Colorado is beautiful gorgeous, one of my favorite places I’ve ever been as far as the landscape goes.
Somehow though, in recent years I didn’t quite compute the fact that Pike’s Peak, that iconic landscape that filled so much of my childhood imagination, was in Colorado. I seriously have no clue how I had forgotten that, but I had.
Yesterday I was thrilled to get to venture to the top of Pike’s Peak via the Cog Railway. It was an hour and a half trip of up, up, up, with beautiful scenery crowding every moment. It was amazing at how many different types of landscape the mountain climb offered.
We started out with lots of pine trees, a rocky, rushing stream, and tangled brush. Further along there were hugely gigantic boulders everywhere, then eventually slopes with what seemed like nearly gravel-size rocks. After that, there were big chunks of rocks with odd angles that looked like a giant had stepped on the big boulders, crushing them. Eventually we hit a high mountain meadow and soon after that, fields of snow.
It got pretty cold the further up we went, and eventually people in the back asked us to close our window and so we did. I would have happily braved the chilliness in order to have the fresh air and glass-free pictures, but it was nice to be warm again.
We didn’t stay very long at the top of Pike’s Peak, only about a half an hour. That was fine with most people because we were at over 14,000 feet and so some people were dizzy and feeling faint, plus it was only about 20 degrees, 13 or so with the wind chill. I wished we could have stayed longer though. I wanted to make a snow angel, but didn’t have enough time to do that because of everything else I was doing.
Being at the top of Pike’s Peak was not only gloriously delightful, it was also a dream come true and something I’ll be able to store in my memory bank forever.
There is no place for the cog train to turn around at the top of Pike’s Peak, so they simply have a place for the conductor at both ends and he switches places. I really wanted to sit on the other side of the train on the way back down the mountain, and was very thankful when a couple of the other passengers agreed to trade seats with me and my dad. Their seats were actually a lot nicer with more leg room, so that was extra-kind of them.
The view was spectacular. We were told that on a clear day people could see over 390 miles to Kansas; there were a bunch of clouds in that direction though, so it’s doubtful we actually saw into Kansas. We could see really far in other directions though.
Goin up Pike’s Peak was a nearly forgotten dream come to life and I’m so very thankful I got the chance to do it. The beauty that was all around us was breathtaking (or maybe that was the altitude?) and I took so many pictures it was hard to choose which ones to share with y’all.
Apparently there’s also a hiking trail up the mountain which of course excited me. So now I have a new dream, some day I would be totally delighted if I could come back to Colorado and hike up to the top of Pike’s Peak. How much fun would that be?
What about you? Have you ever been (or dreamed of going) to Pike’s Peak?