Wednesday was Pikes Peak day! After making breakfast burritos we started on our way. Originally we were going to take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, but Courtney and I remembered we that typically don't like small talk with strangers. Couple that with our yearning for adventure and you have... dunnnhh duhhh dunnhh duhhhhh... Pikes Peak Highway!
Pikes Peak Highway is a 19 mile toll road that leads to Pikes Peak. The bottom third of the road is paved while the upper portion is gravel. The gravel portion is also home to the badassness that is known as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. While we were ascending we saw a bunch of rally cars being towed back down. One of the teams we saw was the Honda Ridgeline rally team and they all stuck their arms out of their cars and gave me a thumbs up. I was immediately cooler than I was the moment before this happened.
Anyways, the ascent is kind of scary because there are not many guard rails and pretty steep grades. Don't worry though, as soon as I would begin to feel brave and/or cool I would see something like a 1987 Chrysler Lebaron riding my ass and wanting to pass me. Eventually we got to the top where the air was really thin and the view was pretty impressive.
It was a tad windy and chilly but not too bad. Before leaving we visited the gift shop to purchase a shot glass and then walked around taking pictures. The trip down was a little scarier for one main reason- Hot Brakes Fail! The road is so steep that you would burn up your brakes pretty quickly if that is all you used to slow down, so you have to use your engine to slow down. They attempt to remind everyone of this by these scary signs that say "Hot Brakes Fail!". I ended up driving the entire way back down with my truck in first gear loudly whirring away at 4,000 RPM (and I still had to break at times).
On the way down we found this little unknown turnoff to an area called Elk Park Overlook. The main reason it is unknown is because you can't see the turnoff unless you are a couple hundred feet above the road in question. When you get to the turnoff you have to take it on faith that there is a road there because it looks like you are driving off of the mountain to a quick end (doh)!
After leaving Elk Park Overlook we found another turnoff about 5 miles later to something called South Catamount Resevoir- it was beautiful!
And that was the end of our Pikes Peak visit. You can find all of our pics here.
For lunch we headed to Manitou Springs so that we could get a bite to eat at a place called Adam's Mountain Cafe. This restaurant makes everything fresh when you order it. The food was very very good. I had the Smoked Salmon Wrap and Courtney had a yummy Cashew Chicken Salad. The food was so good we almost abandoned our dinner plan later in the week and went back.
We closed out the night by visiting one of the original homesteads that make up Mueller State Park. Known as the Osborn Homestead, it has remnants of the original cabin and outbuildings along with some fabulous views:
All of the Osborn Homestead trail pics can be found here.
Once we got back to the campsite we had brats and corn on the cob next to a camp fire. It was a beautiful night as usual but we eventually went inside and watched some Band of Brothers before turning in.
Stay tuned for follow-up posts outlining the rest of our trip!