Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Colorado Springs, Part II, Pikes Peak Cog Train, April 26, 2016

A "must do" when is Colorado Springs is to take the Manitou Springs Pikes Peak  Cog Railway  to the top of Pikes Peak at an elevation of 14, 114.  While on assignment in Denver years ago, I took the trail to the top and also drove the road.  The weather was to be "iffy" but there appeared to be a clear window in the morning so we made reservations....which created a large dent in the pocket book.  The drive to the top would have been nice, but the last three miles of the road were not open yet.

A little history on the railroad per the internet and railway publication:

"The Broadmoor's Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway holds a unique distinction as the highest cog railway in the world. Wonder how this legendary Pikes Peak train came to take visitors to the top of America’s Mountain? One of the tourists who visited the Pikes Peak region in the late 1880s was Zalmon Simmons, inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Company. Mr. Simmons rode to the summit of Pikes Peak on a mule. The arduous, two day trip was the only way to reach the top in those days. Mr. Simmons was awed by the scenery but determined that the views should be experienced in a more civilized and comfortable manner. Thus, the railway was born. 
In 1889, the Manitou & Pike's Peak Railway Company was founded and track construction began. Top wages were 25 cents per hour. This was no easy feat as six workers died in blasting and construction accidents. On the afternoon of June 30th, 1891, the first passenger Pikes Peak train, carrying a church choir from Denver, made it to the summit for the first time. Spencer Penrose, owner of The Broadmoor Hotel, acquired the Railway in 1925."

We arrived 30 minutes early as required and settled into our seats which were near the front of the train.  Seats are are assigned. It was really cold outside, but the train was nice and toasty.  We were told temperatures at the top were 4 degrees with a wind chill factor of -13.  Yikes!

The train was full and it was a little challenging to take pictures.  The sky was clear which was a good sign.  

 There were lots of rock formations at the lower elevations

The engineer was only a few rows ahead of us.  Note the cog tracks.
 Four miles down and five more to go:
 View of Pikes Peak

 Yep, there is still a lot of snow.  The train is very close to the snow banks and some of them were almost to the top of the train.
Windy Point. At one time over 20 men stayed in the building while the railway was being built.
 The top.  The air was very thin and Joel didn't make it too much farther.  He retreated to the lodge and enjoyed the cider donuts. Ymmmm. They were light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the out side.
 The cog train with Colorado Springs below.  It was windy and very, very cold on top.
 I walked around the summit. You can see part of the road in the foreground.
 If you look closely you can see the snow capped mountains just below the clouds.

There are several signs reminding you that you have made it to the top and altitude. Yes, I was a little out of breath, but I seemed to acclimate easily.  It wasn't as bad as when I was at the top of Mt. Whitney a few years ago.  

The ride down took just as long as the ride up (1 1/2 hours).  Going down, you get a different vantage point and the scenery was just as good, but the storm front was moving in and the clear skies disappeared. 

We returned to the Elks lodge and the trailer and Joel took the truck in for service while I enjoyed reading my kindle and looking out the window at the cold, rainy weather which seems to follow us.  The forecasts don't look too much better. 


1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who lives in Colorado Springs and he took me up in his car. I remember is was a hot day and he said to bring my jacket. I thought he was kidding - he wasn't and I was glad I brought it. Your way up sounds even more fun!