Colorado – Day 8: August 8, 2015
Our last day had arrived – I wasn’t ready yet!
But before we headed for home, it was time for Pikes Peak! Pikes Peak is one of the tallest mountains in the continental United States; but not the tallest. It isn’t even the tallest in Colorado – that distinction belongs to Mount Elbert, near Leadville. But Pikes Peak is one of the tallest mountains in the United States that you can drive to the top of! 14,415 feet! Some signs say 14,410, but apparently the 14,415 is the correct height. We drove up slowly, stopping at all the various viewpoints along the way. We saw some spectacular views and learned some interesting things.
For instance, I had no idea what a popular site Pikes Peak is for daredevils and crazies trying to bring attention to their cause. One man rolled a peanut with his nose all the way up the road to Pikes Peak – it took him 21 days! Others pushed a piano from Glen Cove to the summit in about 29 minutes. There is even a race, up the mountain; the fastest racers make it up to the top of the mountain in about 10 minutes – this is not a road I would want to be speeding on!
We got to the top in one piece, and Robby decided that he had to try the famous Pikes Peak donuts. I’m not sure why they are famous, and they didn’t seem any different than regular cake donuts. They were good, but not famous good.
We also saw the arrival of the cog railway train, bringing tourists up the mountain with a mechanical train – it gets pulled up the hill by cogs on the track, rather than by a powered engine. That was neat to see! I’m not sure I would have wanted to take that train up Pikes Peak though, because you are up there an hour before the return trip down. And unfortunately, within a half hour on the top, I was developing what would become an absolutely splitting headache!
We headed down, and on the way, I finally was able to photograph Bighorn Sheep! I saw them too late to stop without turning around, so my photograph from the car while moving will have to suffice for now. They are still blurry, but at least recognizable! Sorry if blurry pictures make you nauseous (like they do me).
We also had another chance to practice putting our rental car in low gear, as the Pikes Peak Highway has grades between 7 and 13 percent. I’m sure the rental car places love when tourists go to Pikes Peak!
Sadly, my headache just kept getting worse, and by the time we stopped for lunch, I was one sad puppy. Ouch! We had lunch at the Colorado Mountain Brewery, and Jon ordered us an appetizer of nachos to arrive quickly, just in case the lack of food was causing my brain crushing headache. After five years of marriage, he’s a smart man! And I quickly sucked down two sodas and three glasses of water, in case it was a lack of caffeine or a lack of hydration. One of these three remedies helped, but unfortunately I battled the headache off and on to various degrees for the rest of the day… I guess summiting Mount Everest just isn’t in the cards for me…
And just like that, it was time for the 75 mile drive back to the airport, to head home. It was an uneventful check in, except for the fact that my ankles are little terrorists, and had to get a brief, respectful pat down at security. Another flight home from a wonderful vacation – and my headache finally went away…
Total driving distance on Day 8: 147 miles – Colorado Springs – Pikes Peak – Denver International Airport