We finally did a “fourteener”, although, yes, it would have been more of an event had we hiked to the top, but it was still quite something to drive up. Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in the US, and the second most visited in the world behind Japan’s Mt. Fuji.
We were aware that Pikes Peak Highway was a toll road, but we were a bit surprised at the $12 fee per person. Okay, we’re cheap, but I guess someone has to maintain the road, which the city of Colorado Springs has been doing since 1948. We figured they’re making up for not being able to charge admission to Garden of the Gods. It is quite a road, though, and now only a couple miles of it are still unpaved.
On the way up we stopped at Crystal Reservoir, one of three lakes that are popular with fishermen, and walked a trail around the lake. It was a lovely spot with the Peak in the background.
Then we had lunch at the halfway picnic area, since it was still warm. Actually they were predicting low 90’s for Colorado Springs the day we went, so it was pretty mild, mid 50’s, even at the top, and not much wind. I’m sure it can be pretty miserable up there much of the time.
We walked around at the summit, and went a short way down the trail that we saw several people coming up. They started 8 miles down, and the first two that came up were cute, perky, twenty-something women who said it took them five an a half hours. Then an older couple came up, who said it took them six and a half hours. The woman said it was a very hard hike and she prayed most of the way up! You can see the trail zigzagging through the rocks.
The views at the summit were spectacular, and it would be a great hike, although too long and too much elevation for us.
Since we’re staying here another week, I’m trying to talk Jim into taking the train to the top and hiking back down, but he doesn’t seem interested.
Here are a couple more shots I took out the car window on the way down, when I wasn’t having a panic attack due to my fear of heights. Some of the drop offs were more than I could take and I had to look away. Jim wasn’t allowed to look at all, other than at the road in front of him!