Much like the experience of riding a cable car for the first time, the trip to Pikes Peak near Manitou Springs in Colorado begins with some trepidation as the train lurches up the mountainside.
Soon, however, you are completely absorbed by the scenery and the stories the guides are telling. There are faces to see in gigantic stones and broken down remnants of rest stops from decades, sometimes centuries, before. Higher up, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of a marmot or some Bighorn sheep.
The melange of moss and wildflowers that makes up the alpine tundra is so fragile it takes about 75 years to grow a half an inch. In contrast, some of the most ancient trees in the world survive here. There are Bristle cone pines over two thousand years old.
Once you arrive on the summit, you’ll have about 40 minutes to take in the 360° breath-taking views of the Continental Divide’s Rocky Mountains, specifically the Sangre de Christo and Collegiate ranges. Beyond them, the Great Plains stretch south toward New Mexico. Time on the summit is limited due to the likelihood of altitude sickness, which can include nausea and severe headaches. The train leaves promptly, so you’ll want to respect the horn blast that you’ll hear about 10 minutes before your departure.
The author is an artist, writer, and instructional designer with an overactive imagination and too little time. Ceci en est un exemple...
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