Friday, January 11, 2013

Colorado, Pikes Peak - America The Beautiful


I leave my hotel on the outskirts of Denver just past 4am for a drive south towards Colorado Springs. My trusted GPS tells me it will take a little over two hours to reach my destination which should work out perfect. I am looking forward to catching a sunrise in the high country of Colorado.

It is an easy and fast drive along Interstate 25 southbound where I discover what initially seems for me an odd geological twist. As I am driving south my elevation is increasing. I have just left the “Mile High City” now I am at the “1.14299 Mile High City”, Colorado Springs.


DEN 050I arrive at the gateway to my destination about 6:30am and discover a little disappointment. The toll road to Pikes Peak does not open until 9am.

Unfortunately, the sun will long be risen by then. A trip to McDonald's and I enjoy the sunrise from a different perspective.





A few minutes before 9am and I am about four cars deep in line at the now open toll booth. A US$10 person entrance fee and I am on my way for a 19 mile drive to about 14,000 feet.



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The morning mountain air is crisp and clean. A nice compliment to the clear blue skies graced with high thin white whisper clouds. Contrasted with the bright greens of the mountainside landscape along with a few hill tops sprinkled with snow, the view is breathtaking.


DEN 053As I continue my climb I make a few stops a long the way to take in magnificent and awesome views as far as the eye can see.

My only limits are the cold and roaring winds that make my stops too brief.







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DEN 067Eventually, I make it to the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,110 above sea elevation.

From above the fruited plain I am taking in a view of the border of the state of New Mexico, one hundred and twenty miles away.

I imagine it was a day like this when Katherine Lee Bates got her inspiration to write “America The Beautiful”.




Although you can visit Pikes Peak on a one way Cog Train ( for about US$27 per person, I think coming here by car or even hiking is a much better way to do it. Driving or hiking will allow you to take in and appreciate even more the purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.

Just one part of America that makes it beautiful from sea to shining sea.




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