Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday Travels: Pike's Peak!

Inspired by this post a few months ago, we decided to herd our brood up the slopes of Pike's Peak during our recent Colorado trip.

By "herd," we mean "seat them in a clean cog railway car, with food."

Behold the results.

Before embarking. Hot. Not sure why the boy has his jacket hanging from his head. 

Scenery glimpsed from open window as I read to my fascinated children about Pike's Peak history.

Fun fact: A small family actually lives about halfway up the mountain. They maintain the reservoirs and whatnot. They also drive seventeen miles to the nearest grocery store. They have no neighbor problems.

Breaking through the timberline for awe-inspiring vistas, and glimpses of whistling marmots. 

See the train in front of us? We traveled the same path. Fun fact: Every year Pike's Peak holds a marathon. As in, a 26.2 mile footrace, up to the top and back. Last year's champion ran it in 3:51. To put that in perspective, I ran a gently-rolling HALF marathon last winter in 2:35. 

Disembarking at the summit. Fortunately, we were prepared for the relatively-balmy 47-degree weather with warm jackets. The family from Dallas who sat across from us was not so fortunate. They, and other tank-top-clad travelers, had to huddle in the summit house eating donuts to stay warm. We took our donuts (homemade; scrumptious) to go and spent our allotted 35 minutes admiring the view. 

Did you know that Katherine Lee Bates composed the hymn "America the Beautiful" after descending from Pike's Peak (by mule and foot, I believe)? Standing there and gazing over purple mountains' majesties, watching the fruited plains stretch across state lines, you do almost feel you've glimpsed the shining sea, and it takes your breath away. 

If you go: The cog railway ain't cheap. Tickets are $34.50/adult and $18.50/child. To me, it was worth the extra expense because our travel philosophy places a premium on shared experiences. We don't stay in high-end hotels along the road, and we pack a lot of our own food. We don't buy the T-shirts, the souvenir postcard books, the tchotchkes. But we *will* splurge on a few worthy adventures, take lots of pictures, and reminisce about it. Because the years are short.

And we will also take a jacket. Just sayin'.

P.S. I've been thinking for a while of creating a separate blog for family travel-related posts. Not sure if they really fit in with the rest of this blog's random, miscellaneous content. Care to weigh in?


KTG said...

I love the way you weave in family musings with travels. "The years are short", so right there, my vote is keep it all here. I'm a loyal google reader!

Amy said...

This reader thinks that family travel posts are a good fit for the random miscellaneous content of your blog. But if you start another one I will just add it to my google reader as well :-)

Raji P. said...

I love the eclecticness (it has to be a word, I have made it one) of your blog posts! And with your helpful tags we can immediately find what we are looking for by way of books, travel etc.

I do, however, think you have a distinct flair for travel writing, and should somehow make millions doing that.

Vanessa said...

I am drooling over the fact that you wore jackets in July! I had no idea that Ms. Bates wrote America the Beautiful while descending Pike's Peak. Your pics are great, especially your family picture. That's a frame- able one!

julronimo said...

How can something not fit in with random, miscellaneous content? That's one of the reasons I love to peek at life through youe eyes. Just sayin'.

Dawn Stewart said...

Hannah,We miss you in SC! I love stopping in and seeing what your family is up to! Pike's Peak! How fun! David and I drove up when Alex was a baby. Looks like your ride was worth every penny...driving was a little scary.


What are those things you and your family are wearing in the last picture? They look like...no, they can't be...coats?!

Julie said...

Great idea!