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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Colorado Continued

After about two days at the hotel due to illness with the prospect of leaving the following day, I decided we had to get out to see Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs. The mountain beckoned us in the morning sunlight outside our window.

Driving the highway into the Rockies, we slipped into Manitou Springs, a small, mountain town boasting seven different natural mineral springs where the first carbonated beverage was made.

In a gift shop (with divine maple fudge) we tasted our first sip of the mineral water. This one was high in iron and though it didn't test for sulfur, it had a slight scent -and a wonderful natural carbonation. Quite an experience!

Manitou Springs is very charming. Pedestrian (and pet) friendly, it's "drivers be ware" as folks casually traipse across the street, slipping into the many wonderful and unique stores the town offers.
We stopped in The Spice of Life for a local cup-a-joe, and continued browsing the shops and streets on that delicious, crisp morning.

Here, a conversation "couch" outside a shop. The local art abounds. For those Alaskans reading, Manitou Springs is like Girdwood minus the skiing and adding in paved roads and some old buildings. The general feel is very much the same: A hippy, artist, outdoor enthusiasts town.

Oh, Brian..... care to take a stroll with me? ;)

Now THIS was fun! nearly a full block of arcades and small rides in the center of town. It was fabulous!

Another of the public, natural springs.

Wilder had a love-hate relationship with the rides. First off, he was still feeling gross (though much better) and secondly it was a new experience. I have a great video I'll post.

An artists rendering of a topographical map of the town.

Caffeinated and ready for the mountain, we hit the highway for Pikes Peak.

Yeah, he's pretty excited! The toll road/highway goes all the way to the 14,000+ ft. summit of the mountain.
The elevation was getting to Wilder (and a missed nap) so we only made it to a touch over 11,000 ft., but we saw enough wonders to make it worth the trip. And we listened to Christmas music all the way!

Here we are at Glen Cove, 13 miles in to the 19 mile highway to the peak.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! It arrived the day before when we were hotel-bound. Had we been up to the trip earlier we would have missed the wonderful blanket that surrounded us that day.

Wilder's first snow experience! He loved it at first...then his hand froze and he was madder than a...well, a baby with a really cold hand.

A view of one of the reservoirs on our way down.

A view of highway 24 which leads from Colorado Springs into the mountains. The city lay off in the distance.

Santa and the elves took the day off, to my disappointment. But we got a picture of the North Pole!

Miramont Castle boasts many different architectural styles, built in the mid 1800s by a monk. There's quite a bit of history on it, but we just drove by and snapped a shot since it was one of the "must sees" in the area.

One of the engines to the cog train that takes you all the way up to Pikes Peak from the Springs. It's a four hour trip that would have been great fun, but we'll do that next time.

It was wonderful getting out of the hotel (though just hanging out together there was still lovely) and seeing the exciting sights in the mountains. There was a lot we missed -but I like to say we're saving it for another time. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, etc. We'll be back...

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