Thursday we splurged on the Pike's Peak Cog Train.
Because of the cog rail, these trains can up grades much, MUCH steeper than normal trains. This one hits 25% several times. It's pretty trippy, let me tell you. Yes, I kept silently freaking out thinking of how bad it would be if the cogs failed somehow, but I'm sure it's constantly monitored and completely safe.
The train takes you right up to the tip-top of the peak at 14,110 feet. Very fun way to do this mountain. There's a cafe/gift shop and a couple little monuments to be found up there. The train only stops up there for 30 or 40 minutes since most folks end up getting altitude headaches and such if they stay longer.
It's a different feeling, though, standing where you feel like you're on top of the world.
You're well above the timber line in alpine country. On the train ride up (90 minutes each way), you'll likely see some yellow-bellied marmosets and mountain crow-type birds soaring around, and even some long-horn mountain goats if you're lucky.
Oh! And you can still see the rut paths from the carts in the 1800s since the tundra there only grows 1 cm to 1 in every ONE HUNDRED years. Wow!
Friday we spent the morning at Garden of the Gods.
I *love* that place!!! And it's free, so you're very silly if you don't go enjoy it a few times a year. :)
With the occasional appearance of white formations.
Gorgeousness just everywhere!
It remained beautiful for the 3-hr (each way) day-trip along highway 24 - through the Waldo Canyon, then out across the huge 8,800ft valley floor near Spinney Mt.. . .
. ..past the 14-K'er Collegiate peaks of Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, and back into the High Rockies so we could all stand on the highest paved point of the Continental Divide in Colorado at Independence Pass.
Talk about breath-taking vistas - standing at 12,095 ft you're above the timber line, but there's greater vegetation than at 14K.
And you're off the beaten path, so there are no cities in sight.
Just gorgeous, gorgeous mountains, little lakes, and patches of snow, possibly glaciers, visible.
It's all protected for re-growth, so you have to stay on the pedestrian path.
I definitely recommend taking the road trip if you can.
No gift shop or cafe, no services at all (nice!) But there are decent relief facilities up there. Love the door!
We're going to have to take the trip out again when Scott and Devon can come with us!
Saturday we stayed closer to home and hit the Colorado Renaissance Fair at Larkspur.
Their theme was 1571 England, and it was a very fun day - but don't go expecting a high degree of historical accuracy. Anachronisms abound, but it's festive and the crowds are there to have a good time.
It was great to have Scott with us, too!
All the workers and plenty of visitors in costumes, staged jousting 3x a day
"Twisted bread! . . . On a stick!"
Old World rides
Plenty of booths with artisans and activities. . .
. . .We just had a blast.
I'm sure we'll go back next summer, and Marissa's already planning to dress up. :)