Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Colorado Springs, CO

Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains is the city of Colorado Springs, about 2 hours south of Denver. No free camping here! We are wedged into our campsite like sardines! We also meet with friends Carol and Steve Dwyer who are full-time RVers and happen to be visiting family in nearby Denver. Sadly, no pic of us hanging out, catching up and enjoying each other's stories..
Garden of the Gods, barely on the outskirts of the city.

Some of the rocky outcrops along the paved trail that winds throughout the park.

A slightly different view of the eroded fins.

Balanced Rock - how the heck does it stay there?
The Royal Gorge and Bridge, near Canon City.

The Bridge spanning across the Royal Gorge, above the Arkansas River which is over 1,000 feet below. This is one of the world's highest suspension bridges and is a quarter of a mile long.

A train heading up-river.

The train looks like a snake winding through the canyon.

Brad between the suspension cables of the bridge.
Pike's Peak, a "fourteener" that boasts being the most visited mountain in North America and is just a few minutes up the highway from Colorado Springs.
Pike's Peak Highway climbs 7,000 feet in elevation and 19 miles in distance on a twisting road with breathtaking views. We pass through 5 different (plant) zones during the drive and are above the tree line at the top!
Marilyn at the summit, elevation 14,110 feet, temperature 42 degrees fahrenheit but sunny and not too windy. Visibility is also pretty good today, although is better in the winter - no thanks!
Brad at the summit overlooking the reservoirs below.

What a view!

Part of the road is so steep, there is a brake check station on the way down. This station marks the half-way point of a 7-mile 7% grade. Our brakes were only 102F thanks to our super-low first gear which I used all the way down. Hardly ever touched the brakes at all. Unfortunately, the ranger had no prizes for the lowest temperature, although he did tell several other drivers to pull into the rest area to cool down their brakes.

Looking up at the summit from Crystal Reservoir, viewing the changing colours of the gorgeous aspens against the dark green spruce trees.

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