Monday, July 22, 2013

Postcard PrettyOr View From The Top

Pike's Peak Cog Railroad train in the yard
I cannot stay long in Colorado.  The place is giving me lockjaw.  That's what happens when you stare out at beauty in every direction and smile so big it makes your jaws hurt.  Well, that's not entirely true since my first 2 hours in the state were spent driving in thick fog.  It was 10:00 in the morning in the middle of July but the fog on the mountain I was crossing over seemed more like an early December morning back home.  Then suddenly I burst through to the top and out popped the sunshine and the views.  I pulled into Colorado Springs and my campground for the week where I hooked up water and electric in record time.  Seems I had left the triple digit temps of Kansas in shorts early that morning without checking the weather in the springs, so I was not dressed for being outside in 59 degree temps.  Brrrrr!!

Once I got inside and changed into a little warmer clothing I made my reservation to ride the cog railroad to the top of Pike's Peak.  I chose the last train of the day because I thought the crowds might be lighter and hoping to see the sun go down from the mountain top.  My assigned seat on the train put me right up front next to the engineer so the views were fabulous.  The seats were three across on my side of the train so I got to meet a nice couple in town on vacation -- from Smyrna, TN.  Seems there is always a Tennessee connection everywhere I go!

Captured on the webcam walking from the train toward a cache
Of course I was comparing the ride in my mind to the cog railroad that Brenda and I rode to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.  This was so different.  The Pike's Peak cog is the highest cog railroad in the world.  And the cars have a newer feeling than the ones we rode in New Hampshire.  And it took much long since we were going up to over 14,000 ft. this time too.  Along the way the views were spectacular and just like my drive into the state, we broke through the fog at the top for some amazing views.  Naturally there were a couple of geocaches at the top that I had to go find.  The weather was cooler than when we started down below but I was more than warm enough in long pants and a light jacket.
Looking back toward Kansas.  Boy is it flat from here.
  How those folks in shorts stood the cold I don't know.  I was worried I would be too lightheaded on top to go searching for a cache, but it didn't affect me at all until I went inside to use the restroom.  The building was so warm that I almost couldn't stand it.  Had to get back outside to fresh air. 

So all I had to do was go around to the back side and climb up to find the cache.
The next day I drove up toward Denver and then cut back down through some of the mountainsides to find some geocaches and to just gasp in awe at all the beautiful scenery.  Another day of lockjaw.  My fellow geocacher back in Tennessee said the oldest cache in the state, placed in mid 2000, was just 350 feet off the road behind a big rock.  And he was right, except that a big rock in Colorado has a whole different meaning than in Tennessee.

Good thing I didn't see any mountain
lions since the instructions on the
sign were faded out. 
Still, I was able to scramble around behind the rock and climb up to the cache pretty easily.  Maybe I'm part mountain goat after all. 

As beautiful as it was, Colorado was not a place I wanted to stay too long.  The only way I want to see the winter views is via video, although I wouldn't mind being on one of those mountain tops enjoying the views if you could helicopter me in and out.  Until then I will have to point the nose of Horizon Seeker downhill off the mountains which means that as I leave my mirrors are filled with more of that "postcard pretty" view that makes me smile so hard my jaws hurt.  Good bye, Colorado, you beautiful lady.

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