Next day we headed for the mountains and Pikes Peak which is the 3rd highest peak in Colorado standing 14,115ft above sea level. Peaks Cog railway climbs 6,715 vertical feet to the summit from the little town of Manitou Springs, a 9 mile trip. Usually one must have a reservation but we chanced it and managed to get seats on the 11.30am train and had a very nice family sitting beside us. The journey to the top takes an hour and a half journey, most of it on a single rail which means that there’s a train every two hours; so we were lucky! It is very cold at the top of Pikes Peak so we wrapped up well and enjoyed the 40 minutes we were allowed up there. There’s a tradition of eating doughnuts at the summit (something to do with cooking at that elevation) Tom was willing to line up so that we would not break with tradition. We met a man scattering the ashes of a loved one, while another man appeared as though he was being sworn in to one of the armed services - everyone had their own agenda. The views are wonderful and we could see five states in all. The hour and a half journey down went very quickly. We drove down to Manitou Springs for dinner in a French restaurant; had stuffed crepes, shared a slice of German chocolate cake and took half of it home for another night.The following day we hiked in the Garden of the Gods which we think is the end of the line of the large red rocks that run from Denver to Colorado Springs. The shapes and sizes of the rocks in the Garden of the Gods are magnificent and there’s a very good visitor center which has the skull of a Theiorphytalia a prehistoric animal found in the garden and nowhere else. From there we went on to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, authentic Anasazi dwellings where we were able to climb ladders to enter the dwellings and check out the size of the rooms. In the museum they had a video of three generations of Indians dancing; they moved so fast it was unbelievable – we were fascinated by their feathered costumes - eagle’s costumes mostly. On the way back we stopped in Old Town Colorado, it was Art Gallery night when all the galleries served cheese and wine, Adele was very frustrated as due to an allergic reaction to wine she cannot really enjoy occasions like these.
Our next destination was Santa Fee and we traveled the 300+ miles the next day – one observation we’ve made is there’s not much truck traffic on the north to south highways yet east to west is very busy.