Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mixing it up

14ers in Colorado are a big deal. There are 54 mountains in the state that rise above 14,000 feet, and folks here make it a goal to hike up all of them. We decided it would be fun to check one of them out, and thought why not try taking a train to do so?! The cog railway takes an hour and a half to climb from Colorado Springs to Pike's Peak at 14,110 feet above sea level.

We were given all sorts of information on the way up.

What Tom thought was interesting: that the reason for the cogs is to allow the train to climb a steeper grade - in this case up to 25% - where a grade of 2% is considered steep for a normal railroad.

What Linda thought was interesting: the house of the folks who live way up the mountain and who manage the water supply for the city of Colorado Springs. They live 17 miles from their mailbox and it takes them roughly an hour to get down into the Springs.

What Angela thought was interesting: there are a bunch of Bristlecone Pines on the way up, one of which is over 1000 years old, and another of which is over 2000 years old. Ok, so it isn't the most beautiful thing in the world, but man is it impressive!

The views from the top of the peak were simply fantastic, so the time until we were to re-board the train just flew. Once at the bottom, there was just time for a quick DQ stop before taking Linda to the airport. We bid her farewell and then Tom and I went our separate ways: he to meet up with his cousin Angie for dinner, and me to meet up with a high school friend Shane and his wife Jana for Cuban. Then Tom and I met up again and took off for the airport to pick up Jonathan, who got in from California around 11. A crazy day, but quite lovely!

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