As was often the case, Buddie had the vision and the plan for this final day.
“Let’s go up Pikes Peak.”
Not surprisingly for us, on the final day of our week away, we decide to do something touristy. Suddenly seeming to realize there were lots of things outside of Boulder we might want to do. (The trip to Estes Park was just a little escapade. A trip up Pikes Peak would be an adventure.)
We have driven up Mount Washington two different times, and though I’ve never minded doing the driving, we decided that we’d take the cog railway up Pikes Peak to allow me the opportunity to look around in wonder, plus, the Pikes Peak cog railroad is half the price of the one going up Mt. Wash., so it seemed like a bargain.
We headed out of the nest bright and early after eating leftovers at home. It was a beautiful drive over to Manitou Springs, the mountain town where you make the jump off up Pikes Peak. We also talked about doing a cave tour while we were there because I love caves!
We stopped in a little suburb of Colorado Springs to grab breakfast at a divey diner that Yelp told us about, and it was fantastic! Another one of those eggy, mash, scrambles I’ve been eating all week, and it was great. The tattooed, bejeweled, and pierced staff was so nice, and we would never have even found the place if Yelp hadn’t told us about it. King’s Chef Diner, we loved ya’.
It was interesting to drive through Colorado Springs. I had never noticed the feel of two towns so completely before. Colorado Springs comes across as a very conservative, very Christian, evangelical kind of town. Largely, the complete opposite of the image that Boulder represents. We subconsciously chose our vacation spot very appropriately.
There were two train cars, holding about 70 people in each. As you can see, the windows go almost all the way down. I had somehow imagined there would be heat on the train, but they couldn’t have been too warm, even with the windows up. It was about 78 degrees in Maintou Springs when we boarded the train. The temp. at the summit at that time was 27 degrees.
The ride up the mountain was beautiful. Kevin, the conductor’s helper, told lots of interesting stories and pointed out marmots to us on the trip up. It slowly got colder and colder and people started pulling out jackets and sweatshirts. It was eerie and exciting.
There is one couple that owns a house on the mountain that they use as a summer home. Their driveway is 17 miles long, nearest grocery store is 60 miles. You can see part of their driveway in the picture above.
Kevin said this was the oldest tree on the mountain. 2500 years old. Of course, he also told us that if the brakes on the train failed, not to worry because there are two big springs at the bottom of the hill to stop the train: Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. Hyuck, Hyuck.
We saw this group stripping down in preparation for their run down the mountain. The path down is only 12 1/2 miles long, so a pleasant jog once you got going. We don’t know who got the short straw and had to jog back up for the car.
The ride down was almost disastrous for me, but that’s a story for another day. If you want details, email me directly.
We decided to forgo the caving, and decided to head back to our Boulder home for our last afternoon and evening. There was a speaker at the Boulder REI we wanted to hear. She was part of a 12-man crew that rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. After listening to her, we headed to our favorite pasta place, then home to pack and get a good night’s sleep before our long drive home.
Boulder was amazing. I’m so grateful that the children had such a splendid visit with my mom so that we could truly relax and enjoy our freedom and the joy of time together. We probably won’t take a trip, just the two of us, for several years again, but it was heavenly.