"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

Oct. 30 - Pikes Peak

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” –Barry Finlay

Pikes Peak is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Colorado and the most visited mountain summit in North America. The views from the summit inspired the words to America the Beautiful. In 1803, Pikes Peak mountain became part of the United States as part of the vast Louisiana Purchase. Three years later in 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the borders of the new territory. On November 24, 1806, he set out from his stop near modern-day Pueblo, Colorado, to climb the mountain. He was forced back by a blizzard and declared that no man would ever reach the summit that now bears his name. Visitors now reach the summit by taking the cog train, hiking, biking or driving to the top.

The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway boasts they have all new trains, new depots and a new visitor center at the top. It would definitely have been the least stressful way to get to the top, but after reading reviews about horrible parking, uncomfortable seats, crowded cars and limited time at the top to enjoy the view, we decided to drive up. The Pikes Peak Highway was completed in 1915, is 19.5 miles long with an elevation change of 6,715 feet and has approximately 162 turns. Conditions were amazing for our visit, although a little cold at 35º, but the sun was out and the sky was perfectly clear. The day and the views were amazing.

A look at parts of the highway. There were amazing views, unfortunately it was hard for Stan to really appreciate them.

There were many places to pull over and enjoy the view or even do a little hiking.
Just one of the endless views we enjoyed.
The new sign at the top of Pike's Peak.
The views were wonderful at the top.
This view looks towards Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. You can see the rock formations in The Garden of the Gods center left.
Looking towards Denver.
The Arkansas River
Glenn Cove Inn at mile 13. Rangers check your breaks on the way down.
Pike's Peak highway map. It also shows where the cog railroad goes up the mountain.
The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway has been climbing to the top of Pikes Peak since 1891. Some have described the Pikes Peak summit as the “gateway to heaven.” On a clear day you can see Collegiate and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, the Continental Divide, the mining town of Cripple Creek, and  the skyscrapers of Denver. 
I saw someone taking a video on our way down...I wish I would have thought about doing it early.

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