Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honeymoon highlights-Pikes Peak

One of the high points of our trip (no pun intended) was summitting the mountain of Pikes Peak, at 14,110 feet above sea level. Not on foot, mind you, (because that would have killed us) but by cog railroad.

This is Pikes Peak, keeping watch over the delightful farmer's market we found. At the market we found handmade bowls that perfectly match our dishes, as well as a woven basket and wooden earrings made by impoverished women who are finding a livelihood by working for the organization Suubi my friend volunteered with.

Back to Pikes Peak: It took us 1.5 hours to get up to the top, and we dropped about 30 degrees in temperature on the way. We had a tour guide that informed us on all kinds of interesting things about the mountain, the wildlife, and the railroad. For instance, once you get up to a certain point on the mountain, the landscape is covered mostly by this grass-moss plant. We found out it grows laterally at a rate of 1-3 inches every 100 YEARS! That ground covering that spanned many, many acres was ancient! Another interesting fact we learned was about the aspen trees that grow all over the mountain and the whole area. They aren't really separate trees--when you see a grove of aspen, you're really looking at one tree.....it just spreads more roots underground and then sends a shoot off. It is one root with many shoots. The guide said the biggest aspen spans hundreds of acres, making it one of the largest organisms on the planet.
It was fantastic. The pictures really don't do it justice.
It was blustery and frigid at the summit. No trees or vegetation to be seen. The only living thing near the top was the occassional marmit-a big rodent type animal that looked like a crazy, furry large cat. On the way back down, I could barely keep my eyes open despite the amazing beauty! The lack of oxygen at that altitude got to my brain, and I pretty much shut down. Definitely worth the $31 to go up, and I'd do it again tomorrow.


Nathan Holland said...

what a beautiful place! I can't wait to get back. Come visit me anytime you want.