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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pikes Peak COG Railway


Our first adventure on our Labor Day Weekend trip to Colorado Springs was a trip up Pikes Peak.  We took the Cog Railway--which is a much less scary trip up the mountain.  Plus, you have a conductor to tell you the history and point out all the sights along the way.   That is much better than driving it yourself.  The altitude still effects your body no matter how you get to the top.  :)  I think we were all (except maybe Eric) feeling a little bit of altitude sickness and ready to head back down.  I think even Azure was happy to be back down.  :)  
Ready to ride up the mountain

I've never gotten to ride a train that required tickets before (I don't think).  Anyway, it was fun to have the conductor walk up and down the aisle collecting tickets and telling us the history of the mountain and bad jokes all the way up to the top.  I did not expect the top of the mountain to be quite to crowded.  The gift shop was so full of people we could hardly walk around.  I got a little bit claustrophobic and was much more comfortable when we were back on the train.  Both kids thought it was a bit freaky.  Our daughter said it was fun on the way up and scary on the way down.  I still think traveling by car would have been even scarier.  :)

This was more of a  cultural experience than I expected.  I never thought I would get on a train in the middle of the USA and be surrounded by so many other languages.  I totally forgot that Pikes Peak is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world.  So, although we only travelled a few hours by car--many of our fellow passengers had traveled halfway across the world.  Watching the experience of others was almost as amazing as watching the beautiful scenery around us.

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the highest in the world

We, of course, looked for wildlife all along our trip.  Our conductor was quick to point out that these are "wildlife" and do not always come out when we want them to.  We did get to see an American eagle and a yellow-bellied marmot.  We had to wait until after the family reunion later in the day to see a herd of elk by the road near Eric's uncles house.  :)
yellow-bellied marmot

The views on the way up the mountain as well as on top are absolutely breathtaking.  And, I'm so glad we decided to take the railway instead of drive.  However, I was certainly glad to be back down.  I told Eric now I can cross that off my bucket list and never have to go up to the top of Pike's Peak again

I would totally rather take the train than drive up the mountain

The best souvenirs of the trip were the blankets the kiddos bought at the top of the mountain.  They definitely made the trip back down the mountain warmer.  I think the combined warmth of the blankets and atmosphere made for some sleepy kids as we headed back down the mountain.  I know our daughter said it was scary going down, but I'm not sure exactly how much she saw anyway.

What was your final adventure of the summer?
Have you ever been to somewhere close by your home to be surprised by its international appeal?

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