We arrived early to Pikes Peak RV park in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Troy checked in and they gave us lot number 55. I guess it wasn’t a lot, but a parking space surrounded by some gravel. We just so happened to be setting up our camp at the same time as a 40 foot fifth wheel with three pop outs was setting up camp right next to us, or basically on top of us. These WONDERFUL people had two, small yappy dogs, and they set up a pen for them outside so that everyone could enjoy them. Once we were set up we left and headed to Pike’s Peak.
When we arrived at Pike’s Peak, just a short drive up the hill from where we were camping, they took our money and asked us to make sure we had at least a half a tank of gas. They gave us a map. There were several points along they way to stop and get acclimated to the elevation, including two gift shops. We stopped at every point along the way. We were still on the look out for marmots, but now we were also looking for Big Foot!
When we reached the first gift shop there was a little chipmunk that was running back and forth through the gift shop. He would climb up into the stuffed animals, he would let people feed him and touch him, and he would run outside into the woods. He was just putting on a show.
At one point on the mountain you are not allowed to drive any further. You have to park your car, and take a bus the rest of the way to the top. Once on the bus, the drivers can tell you and show you a little bit about the area. Our driver on the way up spotted these bighorn sheep on the side of the mountain.
When we arrived to the top it was really cold. There was a huge temperature difference from the bottom to the top. I think it was around 47 degrees at the top that day and 77 degrees at the bottom. While you’re climbing the mountain in your car it feels like your swimming down towards the very bottom of the deep end in a swimming pool. You know how you’re under water and there is all that pressure, but it is so quiet? It’s like that. When I was at the top of the mountain I felt like I had taken Nyquil. I just felt soo tired and run down. The guy who sold us donuts up there told us that they have a hard time keeping employees because people don’t last. He said that on his first day he passed out, lol. As we went back down the mountain in our car there was a point where the Rangers checked the temperature of our brakes to make sure they were not too hot. Coming down the mountain you can smell the cars getting hot and burning rubber. After the brake check though I fell asleep. I was exhausted.
Garden of the Gods
After we were off of the mountain it was still really early so we decided to go to the Garden of the Gods since it was really close by. We drove through pretty quickly. Many of the rock formations are roped off, but you can still hike the trails to get to some of them. We really weren’t in any shape to do that at this point. TJ just wanted to climb rocks. So, we climbed some rocks that day and came back and climbed some more rocks on another day, but didn’t really hike any trails here.
The area around Manitou Springs is full of cottonwood trees. We left our shoes outside of the RV and left towels on the picnic table to dry overnight, and the next morning they had the white cotton from the trees all over them. I had to shake everything out or dust everything off. The cotton from the trees floats through the air similar to a light snowfall. It’s quite interesting. One night our wonderful neighbor’s dogs yapped ALL night so Troy turned on beach sounds for us to fall asleep to. I finally fell asleep and dreamed that the cotton from the cottonwood trees was getting into my mouth and causing me to suffocate. I woke up gasping for breath. Crazy, huh? Troy said that the next time he’s not going to play beach sounds, but rather barking dog sounds, lol!
Also, while in Colorado we went to the Rocky Mountains. This was really interesting because where I’m from we don’t study all of the ecosystems that are found there, and it was interesting to actually SEE them and not just hear about them. While we were there we also got to see quite a bite of wildlife. This is where we FINALLY saw a marmot up close!!! We also saw lots of elk and tasted elk jerky. TJ tasted fresh water from one of the waterfalls as well as carved his name in ice. The tundra at the top was absolutely beautiful and interesting to learn about. The grass was so green and the flowers were bright yellow. You can see waterfalls, ice on the top of the mountain, pine trees and lots of wildlife. Scenic overviews are what make it possible for anyone to be able to get great views of the Rocky Mountains. As we were driving through the Rockies whenever we would drive near a scenic overview with a car in it we would start scoping out the area around it to see if there was something interesting to see like a moose or an elk. Our windows were down because the weather was perfect as we drove upon a scenic overview with a car parked sideways. We all peered out the windows and were flabbergasted when we saw a woman’s bare butt. She was squatting to pee! AAAGGHHH! I can’t get that image out of my head. Not such a great view.
That night we went back into Manitou Springs. Manitou Springs is kind of like a smaller version of Gatlinburg with a hippie vibe. We got some ice-cream, checked out a couple of the shops, and then found out from some of the other tourists that there were seven springs located around the town that you can drink from. Each spring supposedly has a different taste. We were able to find three of them. I had also heard about a penny arcade. Some of the games were really old and fun to check out, especially for a penny! They also had nickel and dime games. The boys were having a blast. It was interesting to see what people thought was entertainment back then—a monkey clapping cymbals—compared to what we think is entertainment today.