We started the day with a quick visit to the cute little town of Manitou Springs. There were several accessible springs, and we filled up our bottles with soda water (naturally carbonated.) It was sweet and refreshing. We were surprised that there isn’t a company bottling this delicious water today, but I guess the market for spring waters isn’t big enough to warrant it…a real shame.
We arrived at the railway station early to pick up our tickets and get some photos of the train and the railroad depot. The Cog Railway, the highest in the world, climbs Pike’s Peak to an altitude of 14,433 feet. We were unlucky with the weather, it was a cloudy morning. We had a knowledgeable and entertaining guide in the car who gave us plenty of facts and figures and amusing antidotes as we made the slow upward journey (it took about 2 hours.) We climbed through thick forest to sub-alpine forest and finally to the barren tundra. By the time we got to the top, we were completely in the fog and it was freezing. With my fleece and long pants, I still felt like an icicle. Fabien and I explored the “peak”, taking pictures through the clearing clouds and studying the various monuments, but we finally ended up inside the summit café with everyone else. It made me really appreciate the clear, sunny weather we had when climbing Long’s Peak. We arrived back at the bottom around 12:30. We found a greasy diner for lunch- just what we needed to warm up.
The day’s adventures weren’t over. Our next stop was at the Olympic Training Complex Visitor Center in Colorado Springs. This massive complex, funded solely by sponsors and private donors, is home and host to hundreds of athletes. Our tour guide was a member of the women’s weightlifting team. She, herself, probably didn’t weigh more than 110 pounds. There were plenty of flags and small exhibits highlighting each of the Olympic sports and we saw some athletes training in the gym. We were surprised to learn that the team doesn’t receive any funding from the U.S. government. All of their funding comes from private sponsors. I was inspired and bought an USA Olympic Team running shirt.
We drove a little bit south and stopped in a KOA campground with a swimming pool. We relaxed our muscles and played some nerf football in the pool until the storms came in again.
Posted from Williamsburg, VA
Tags: BIG TRIP 2011, Colorado FR, In English 2005-2006