Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pike's Peak

We are still parked in Colorado Springs, probably leaving tomorrow.  I was not too happy having to park within a bustling city, until I walked from our home to a nearby trail which runs along Fountain Creek.  Before even leaving the rv park, a black squirrel ran across my path.  They are rare, some towns we have been through have as their only claim to fame the presence of black squirrels.  However, we never saw them in those towns.  Funny that I found one here.   As I then walked down the trail a mule deer and her baby stepped out from the brush along the creek and stared at me.  A young man I met later made the comment that deer are more prevalent in this city than in all of Colorado!  Finally I want to show the view of Pike's Peak which we have near our home.  I am coming to like where we are parked.
The famous mountain top has the patch of snow on it.  It was the first mountain peak in the Front Range of the Rockies seen by pioneers in their covered wagons after they had traveled the Great Plains.  Soon the favorite phrase became "Pike's Peak or bust".  Zebulon Pike and 28 other men, assigned by President Jefferson to investigate the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase, tried to scale the mountain but did not make it because of inclement weather.  However, Pike was the first one to write of it, and his name was then given to the peak.   Kathleen Bates, a professor from Wellesley College, was lecturing at Colorado College in 1893.  She joined an expedition to the summit of Pikes Peak.  Thrilled with the beauty of what she saw there she wrote the poem which later became known as "America the Beautiful".
 John and I took the cog railroad to the summit yesterday.  In the mid 1880s Zalmon Simmons (founder of the mattress company by the same name) took a burro up the mountain and decided that there had to be an easier way to go for everyone to see the peak.  Being an inventor, he liked the cog railroad system and began building it, and it was completed by 1891.
 We have taken the railway before, but I am glad we did it again.  Traveling up the steep grades of the mountain we saw tall forests of fir and aspen, as well as meadows of wildflowers.  Coming down there were mule deer in those meadows.  We also saw rushing mountain streams as well as large granite boulders along and in those streams.  Shortly stepping off the train at the summit a herd of bighorn mountain sheep greeted us. I was able to capture a picture of one before they headed down.  By the way, it was 47 degrees art the summit, with a wind chill of 41 degrees.  After taking in the views at the top, a cup of hot cocoa tasted good!
One last photo here,  that of  a view of the Garden of the Gods in the foreground and Colorado Springs from the summit.  In the other direction was the Continental Divide, under a bit of cloud cover.

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