Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog!! Our Vacation Part II

Sunday marked the beginning of the second half of our vacation. With all of the exploring that we had done, I was determined to slow down the pace a bit on this day. We headed out in the early afternoon to explore the nearby mountain parks. First was a drive through Bear Creek Canon Park. Beautiful scenery is an understatement when describing the views during our drive. Driving on Gold Camp Road was exciting. At a few points we actually drove through the mountains in tunnels. Steven was not too comfortable with the narrow dirt lane we were driving on. There were points that were obviously one lane and others were not more than enough room for two vehicles to pass each other by. Hugging the side of the mountains and seeing the drops into the canyon below made it so worth the trip. After our drive, we arrived a bit lower on the mountain in North Cheyenne Canon Park and we hiked up a trail near Helen Hunt Falls. A park ranger told us a bear had been spotted earlier that day in the canyon, and he had pictures on his camera of a bear in his back yard from the day before. The hike was a bit steep in a few spots and Daniel had to be picked up since his legs were too short to step up.

Here I am at the top of the hike near Helen Hunt Falls in the North Cheyenne Canon Park. The view is looking to the east. As Daniel says, "I can see my house from here."

Joe was disappointed that we didn't see any bears ourselves. I was not. After our drive and hike, we went back to the Ho Jo that served as our base camp, and Joe and the boys swam for a couple of hours in the pool.

Monday was Raymond's birthday, and the plan was to go to the top of Pike's Peak, eat their special recipe donuts and Raymond would open his gifts from us. Last time we went up (6 years ago) we made it to Glen Cove which is about 3,000 feet below the summit. That year we were traveling in the RV and it was not designed to make it to the top of mountains. This time we did make it to the summit.

Daniel at Pike's Peak Summit. The view is to the southeast. And it was literally breathtaking.

Raymond-8, Steven-19, Daniel 4 and Joe at the summit of Pike's Peak. The view is to the east.

It was brisk up there, not quite 50 degrees F and even colder with the wind chill factor. My lungs felt over inflated as I was trying to get some oxygen out of the thin air. We went into the building at the top to get out of the wind and enjoyed the special over 14,000 feet altitude recipe donuts after singing "Happy Birthday" to Raymond.

Raymond also earned his Junior Ranger badge and whistle from Pike's Peak. We went back to the van after briefly enjoying the view, and Raymond opened his gifts. The lack of oxygen and pressure change began to get to Joe and the boys, so we made one last trip into the Summit House, bought a couple of t-shirts, mugs, postcards and a bear with a donut magnet and then we headed back down the mountain. The day before we went up, the Pike's Peak Hill Climb Race was held. Last year, a record was set for 10 minutes and 1 second to the summit, a 19 mile ride with many hairpin turns and steep grades. It had taken us an hour to get to the top and we didn't stop on the way up.

We did stop several times on the way down.
Once to play in the snow at 12,820 Ft. El., once at Glen Cove (11,450 Ft. El.) and lastly at the Chrystal Creek Reservoir (9,377 Ft. El.).

When we were at the summit, Steven filled two water bottles with 14,110 Ft. altitude air. By the time we made it down to Glen Cove the were already collapsing with the pressure change. While at Glen's Cove, I filled another empty water bottle with air from that altitude.

Tuesday was our last day in the mountains, and we returned to Pike's Peak. We visited Santa's Workshop at North Pole, Colorado located at 7,500 Ft. El. on the side of Pikes Peak Mountain.

Joe Daniel and Sheila on Sky Ride Daniel and Raymond at the North Pole. It stays frozen 365 days a year.After our seven and a half hour visit at Santa's place, we drove through Garden of the Gods to say good-bye to the mountains and then we headed to Limon for the night. We stayed in a motel there with an indoor pool. Joe and the boys swam until 11:30 our time and then got up the next morning and swam until check-out time. We stopped in Hays for a late lunch/early dinner. Then we drove home and made it in the driveway at about 8:50 p. m.


No comments:

Post a Comment