Thursday, October 4, 2012

Colorado Springs: Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs & Pikes Peak

After our morning at the Balloon Festival and our breakfast at Rudy's we drove through Garden of the Gods - a beautiful public park with amazing rock formations! We made a couple of picture stops but didn't want to spend too long because we wanted to get to the town of Manitou Springs to have lunch before taking the cog railway up to Pikes Peak!

Once we finally found a parking spot we walked around Manitou Springs for a while. We did some shopping and grabbed a light lunch. The locals of Manitou Springs reminded me a lot of the keep Austin weird folks! Lots of hippies and free spirits!

Spring running through Manitou Springs
Natural Soda Springs...the water tasted weird
Such a cute little town!

Doggy treat cute!
Patsy's for lunch!

After spending some time in Manitou we headed over to the Cog Railway Station to take the train up to the top of Pikes Peak. The ride up was very enjoyable - lots of interesting facts, pretty scenery and calming ride.

When we left the station we were at an elevation of 6571 ft
Lots of BIG rocks
Up to 8332 ft
Pretty pretty - still below the treeline
Now we're above the treeline - almost no trees
Windy Point 12129 ft - and it was very windy!
Mom & Dad on the way up
Me & Justin on the way up
Pretty sky!
Once we got to the top it was COLD - about 40 degrees (it had been about 90 at the bottom when we left). Luckily we were prepared with our sweatshirts and were able to look around and take some pictures but then it started drizzling. You only have about 45 minutes at the top before the train goes back down but that was plenty of time since there were a lot of people crammed in the gift shop because of the cold/drizzly weather.
We made it to the top!
Our train car
America the Beautiful was written because of the view from Pikes Peak!
14110 ft - and it was COLD!
Some rain in the distance!
Unfortunately for me the ride down was not nearly enjoyable as the ride up. After about 20 minutes of being at the top I started feeling bad. I was kind of expecting this because I got altitude sickness when I was 6 and went to ski school in Santa Fe (10,350 ft) and didn't quite feel normal when we went to the top of Haleakala (10,023 ft) in Maui last year. Turns out going up to 14,114 ft in about an hours time is NOT for me. The conductor said I should start feeling normal around the treeline (around 11,000 ft) but that wasn't the case. I didn't really feel better until we were in the car about halfway back to the hotel. I'm glad I went to the top and got to see the beautiful view from Pikes Peak but I think that will be my one and only trip up there!