Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Day to Checkout the Manitou Springs Area Including A Drive to Pike's Peak!

Ken and I decided that today we would get a feel for the "lay of the land" and then do some hiking and exploring tomorrow.  It was a beautiful, sunny morning and Chris, the owner of the CG, suggested we drive to the top of Pike's Peak on such a gorgeous day.

So, we took his advice and headed to the Pike's Peak Highway, which is a 19 mile toll road that goes to the very top.

We had to pay $12.00 each to ride on the Pike's Peak Highway!

It is a very windy, steep road (lots of switchbacks) where you drive up 7,400 ft. of elevation till arriving at 14,115 feet at the top.  Ken was rather "anxious" during the drive since he is not real "wild" about heights. But, he did a great job.

What do they think they are doing riding bike to the top????

A rather windy road!

Lots of switchbacks!

I think the road ahead is straight down or maybe you just
go over the edge!  Ken's palms are sweating by now!!!

I was the photographer while he stayed focused on his driving!  About 1/2 million people go to the top of Pike's Peak each year.  It is not the highest peak in Colorado, but the most visited.

Many reservoirs provide water for the surrounding areas!

This is Bigfoot!  Do you think he really exists????

The changing of the landscape.  (Sorry, Polly, not sure of
the technical term!)

Looks like we are driving right into the clouds.  Yes, Ken,
we are up mighty high!

At the CG it was 78 degrees but at Pike's Peak it was 48 and so windy!

It's a bit breezy and you sense that your breathing is a bit different!


Many folks choose to ride the Cog Railroad to the top and they are "hanging" on the side of the mountain along the way.  3 cars stopped at the top while we were there and all of the cars were filled to capacity!

The Cog Railroad at the top of Pike's Peak!

A rather unique track!

The big food treat at the top is special donuts made according to a very old recipe. They were very good but a different texture than the donuts we are used to.  You have to eat them while at that altitude, because they become like "hockey pucks" if you bring them to lower ground and the recipe only works at high altitude.  Rather interesting! 

What a treat!

Driving back down was more pleasant for Ken than going up. 

The rider we passed on the way up was within a hundred yards
of the top!  Impressive!!!

No wonder it seemed windy!

You had to stop to have the temperature of your brakes checked on the way down and they asked you to keep your car in the lowest gear.  It is a steep descent.

The brilliant colors of the Aspens was a sight to behold -

Like the snow on Pike's Peak!

We drove through the business area of Manitou Springs on the way back to Waldo and I have to apologize for my description of the area yesterday.  We needed to walk about 2 more blocks to get to the very nice downtown area complete with lots of interesting shops, eateries, etc.  It tends to be a rather "hippie type" area!

We ate lunch outside at Waldo and then drove to the Visitors Center at Garden of the Gods.  What a wonderful place. 

You could read about each animal and bird when you tapped
the screen!

After talking to one of the volunteers we drove to the spot she recommended for taking photos of the large rock formations and said we should go there for sunrise.  We will have to see about that!  Then we drove through the Garden of the Gods just to get an overview. Tomorrow we will go there to get photos and do some hiking, so you will have to wait for all the gorgeous pictures from that area!  Stay tuned!

This would be a beautiful picture 1st thing in the morning
when the sun is shining on the rocks!

In 1970 the Garden of the Gods was designated as a
National Natural Landmark.  In 2014 Trip Adviser recognized
the Garden of the Gods as the number 1 City Park in the USA.
It is visited by 1.7 million people each year!

On the way back we parked at the town park and went to the very small Farmer's Market.  We bought some delicious cranberry/walnut wheat bread from one of the locals.  Then we strolled the downtown area going in and out of shops and playing Skee-Ball at the same type machines we played so often at Ocean City, MD.  It is a very interesting little town.

Lots of old store fronts!

A painting on the side of one of the buildings!

Part of our generation!

Definitely a hippie type shop!

This arcade covered a huge area both inside and out!  So many
antique rides, games, pinball machines, etc.  Fascinating!

Loved the old Skeeball machines!

What a nice way to display your knives!

Solar powered lightbulb!

We also stopped to sample the natural spring water at 2 more sites.  Both of them had carbonation -

Wheeler Springs!  Just help yourself!

Navajo Springs

When we returned to Waldo, Ken decided it was time for our CRV to get a bath! It was so dirty and dusty from our time at Rocky Mtn. National Park.  I got a movie for us to watch tonight since we do not have very good TV reception.  I am not sure, but we may be too tired to watch it!

I thought I would share some info on the bighorn sheep that I learned today. They are the state animal for Colorado and the males usually travel in herds of 5 or 6. Their horns weigh about 50 pounds which is more than their bones and the rings can be counted to determine their age.  During mating season the males attack each other at a speed of 50 mph with their heads down and striking their horns.  The clicking of their horns can be heard for several miles away.  

Ken did some research on what we want to see while in this area and it appears we may run out of time to see some of the special attractions.  I worked on the blog and recorded expenses while Ken prepped our lunches and breakfast for tomorrow.  No movie for these tired travelers!

It was another day to celebrate life! 

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