Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs

Our journey across Kansas and the eastern plains of Colorado ended with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak and camping in the very cool foothills of that mountain. It must have gotten down into the 40's overnight and we mistakenly left one o the camper windows down so we huddled under the sleeping bags and blankets so no damage done. The weather has been simply beautiful. In the seventies at camp with blue skies, white puffy clouds and a nice breeze. Our venture down to Garden of the Gods in Colo Spgs. got us back to the ninety plus heat, but by the time we got to the top of Pikes Peak just a few hours later it was down to 50 and the wind was blowing. Thankfully, we have had no rain and no severe weather.

The walk and small bit of rock scrambling we did at Garden of the Gods was fun and beautiful, but perhaps cut short due to the heat, crowds and the inability to scramble whatever rocks we wanted. We did scramble on a few on a trail on the less crowded side of the park. The trip to the top of Pikes Peak was simply gorgeous. We had a picnic lunch by Cascade Lake with a great view of the snow spotted mountain peak on the other side. The road to the top was long, but surprisingly wide in all places and in very good shape. The drive was not nearly as harrowing as the shorter, steeper, and narrower drive up Mt Washington in New Hampshire. Storm clouds seemed to be brewing in the afternoon air, but nothing materialized other than the addition of majestic clouds to the view. Our summit experience was brief as us coastal folk had climbed too far too fast and felt light-headed and wobbly. From a Kansas elevation of probably 4000 feet to 14,110 in just 24 hours was a bit much, but going down just a little while everyone felt fine again and the views were worth it. Back at camp we just rested and tried to subdue the cold being shared around the family so we cancelled the semi-planned venture to Cheyenne Canyon and the waterfalls.

We went to the Air force Academy yesterday and also stopped at the Focus on the Family offices, bookstore and welcome center. We also took time to resupply our food stocks and the kids wanted hair cuts of all things so we obliged. That put us a bit behind schedule, but no one cared as flexibility is a must. We did pay for later in the evening though as we got to camp in Estes Park after dark. We missed our turn for the second time and did a little damage trying to quickly backup onto the main road. Our camp spot was also a very difficult one to maneuver into and frustration mounted after several failed attempts, but alas we arrived and setup and looked forward to the morning view of the peaks that we could only see silhouetted at night.

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