Sunday, September 19, 2021

What's New On Pikes Peak!


At the beginning of September, a former colleague of my husband was visiting Colorado Springs with her husband for a convention.  We live about an hour away in the Denver area, but we offered to drive them up to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on a day they were free, and after they acclimated to the elevation of Colorado Springs. We heard that many new features were being built on the top of the 14,115 foot (94302.32 m) mountain which would be interesting to see in progress.  Pikes Peak also called "America's Mountain" is one of the most visited mountains in the world and a top tourist attraction for the State of Colorado. Annually, nearly 1 million people reach the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or, for the more adventurous, the Barr or Crags hiking trails. Pikes Peak is an American icon, and the summit is a National Historic Landmark that holds a special place in America's heart.

We have made many drives up to the summit of Pikes Peak, and in this post, you can see a more detailed ride up and down the mountain. In this postyou can learn about the town of Manitou Springs which lies at the base of Pikes Peak, and within this post, you can see a trip we took on the Cog Railroad up to the summit of Pikes Peak with my younger brother who was visiting one year. 


Although the sky was uncharacteristically hazy, due to western wildfire smoke in the atmosphere, the view on the drive up was still breathtaking.



As you can see in the photo above there are many switchbacks in the road up the mountain.



 

There are also some places along the drive where you feel as if you are going to drive right off into the clouds!



For the faint of heart, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad does the driving for you and is fully narrated with interesting historical facts. The Cog Railroad has been functioning since 1891, but in the last few years, it has been completely overhauled by its owner, The Broadmoor Hotel and Spa, with new trains, new tracks, a new depot, and a new Pikes Peak Visitor Center to become one of the most unique experiences in the world. 



There was still snow on the ground from a light snowfall that occurred a few days before and the views from the summit, although hazy in the distance, went on for many miles.


There were still many construction vehicles and work in progress at the summit.  It is amazing to think of how those large construction machines and supplies drove up to the mountain top and have worked, weather permitting, constructing new view platforms, a new parking lot, new walkways, and a new Visitor Center Complex! As you can see in the collage above most of the mountain top at one time was a boulder field. The older Visitor Center built in the '60s was being knocked down.


The new Visitor Center is open although finishing touches were still being made inside and around it.


The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, which includes the Visitor Center, a Utilities facility, and a High-Altitude Research Laboratory. has large windows to see the views, a gift shop, restrooms, an interactive display room, and a cafeteria. My husband and friend sampled the legendary high-altitude donuts.




We also watched another cog railway approach the summit from the back porch of the Visitor Center.



A wall of the original 1873 Summit House has been preserved.  Click on the photo to enlarge it to read the informational placard about it in the collage above. 



There were many other interesting informational placards on the new railings--click twice on the photo collage above to enlarge them to read them.


There is also a new modern Summit Sign! It has the new exact measurement of 14,115 feet on it.  We all posed for photos by it. The original 1907 US Geological Survey medallion can be seen on the ground in front of the sign.  


The drive down the mountain was also exciting. We stopped for a while at an area called the Devil's Playground where I took a photo of our friends taking a selfie. 

The Devil's Playground Trail (also known as the Crags Trail) traverses approximately 7 miles and 4,300 feet starting from a trailhead located near the Crags Campground (Woodland Park, CO) and terminating at the summit of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,115 feet. The trail is located entirely on the USFS Pike National Forest.


We continued on until we had the mandatory stop for a brake check at the Glen Cove station on our descent.  Even though my husband followed all the Pikes Peak suggested driving rules our brakes measured hot and we were told to pull over to cool them for a half-hour. It was the first time that happened in all our drives but this was also the lightest traffic we encountered in all our trips up and down the mountain so we may have been going a little faster than usual.  We were able to buy coffee and peruse the gift shop during our stop so all was well.  

We had a wonderful time on the mountain and afterward our guests treated us to a delicious lunch. It was so nice to spend the day with our friends and we know they enjoyed the rest of the time they spent in Colorado. Meanwhile, my husband and I are excited to plan to return next summer to Pikes Peak to see the completion of all the improvements and to enjoy the views again!

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I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday,  Thursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado
 
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Monday, September 13, 2021

Summer's End


"Summer's lease hath all too short a date." ~ William Shakespeare

The wild grass is high and has gone to seed, the light is shorter and more golden, the mornings and evenings are cooler.  The end of summer is nigh. 



"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever"  ~ Carl Sagan

June, July, and August have passed so quickly! The weather was uncomfortably hot this year--we broke weather records for heat. Denver is currently tied for its 4th-hottest summer in recorded history (1872-present). The National Weather Service (NWS) defines summer from June 1 to August 31. We had five days of 100 degrees or higher, forty-six days of 90 degrees or higher, and five days either tied or broke the record high temperature. The weather felt even more oppressive this summer due to the high ozone from the heat and Western wildfire smoke in our atmosphere for many days.  I was happy that we invested in two Hepa air purifiers this year which ran almost constantly.

"If you don't like the weather in Colorado wait 15 minutes--
it will change." ~ Common Folklore

Speaking of weather....no, this isn't snowing...it is hail that fell during a recent afternoon thunderstorm!  We were out shopping and as we drove back into our community we began to see patches of white on the ground, even though the temperature was hot.  When we got home we saw that hail knocked off some of the tree leaves and battered a few of our flowers but thankfully no other damage was done.  As you can see from the close-up, in the photo collage above, the hail was about the size of a dime and a nickel.  Happily, it wasn't any bigger as at times Colorado has golf ball to softball size hail that is very damaging.



"Happily we bask in this warm September sun, which illuminates all creatures." ~ Henry David Thoreau

My garden is fading but I hope our figs will ripen in these last weeks of warm sun.  My roses formed rose hips and I'm drying the sunflower head to save for the birds to eat in winter. The last of summer to savor and anticipation of autumn's beauty to look forward to! Autumn is my favorite season--what is yours?



"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..." ~ Robert Browning

Our son's in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in a fun way this month. They rented a private suite at Coors Field in Denver for a Colorado Rockies game for the entire family to attend.  It was catered with delicious food and we all had a fun time watching the game and all the festivities. We wish them many, many, more years of wedded bliss!




September 11th is always a sad day for us.  I have written many past blog posts about this day and our experiences that day as we lived in New York City at the time and my husband worked in #7 World Trade Center. We knew many who perished that tragic day.  On this 20th anniversary of the event, the memories are still sharp and the desire that good will prevail over evil is still my hope even more than ever.


“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn
that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
~ Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

The pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, Jason Dahl, lived in our Colorado community at the time. His flight was the plane that the brave passengers brought down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to prevent further destruction in Washington DC. Our community put up a memorial of a flying eagle and the plaque above in his memory after 9-11.  Every year on 9-11 many gather at his memorial to pay tribute to him and all the others who perished that tragic day with a moment of silence. 

 A beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky this year during the memorial gathering. Another sign of hope! It is up to all of us to make the world a better place--spread kindness and defeat hate!

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I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday,  Thursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado

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