Now this is the way to ski or snowboard. You can stay in Breckenridge with thousands of rooms right at the base of the slopes. The lifts are totally enclosed and you wait for your lift inside an enclosed building. Maggie Pond, in the middle of town, is fed from water flowing from the Blue River. We had lunch next to the pond in view of dozens of ski runs. Ski a couple of hours, stop over for a burger on Maggie Pond and head back to the runs, all without a vehicle. Nice!
Leaving Breckenridge going south on Hwy 9, you come into this valley. Once a haven for thousands of buffalo, then for several enormous cattle ranches, now available for individual homes. Hmmm, our own private ranchette only a few miles from Breckenridge. Now, if we only liked to ski!
The ranger at the visitor center suggested we visit Cripple Creek. Once a gold town, then a ghost town with almost no people, it is now thriving. It is a darling, restored town with hundreds of cute old buildings. But, oh yeah, all those building are now mostly casinos. The row of blue-awning buildings on the left is one casino that took over about ten shops.
Pike's Peak, known as "America's Mountain", is just outside of Colorado Springs to the west. The trip up goes from 7,375 feet to 14,110 in 19 miles. The landscape varies greatly from trees and reservoirs to the top that looks like the moon. The views are fantastic, as most of the climb there are no trees to block your view; and you are right on the road's edge with little to no guard rails.
Pike's Peak literature claims that the drivers of the annual race to the top make our one hour trip in a little over ten minutes. Let's do the math. 19 miles in 10 minutes is 114 miles per hour. That would be a fun race to watch as there are dozens of 10 MPH curves like the one below. Go figure!
The 32nd annual Colorado Springs Balloon Classic was in progress. As the wind was mild, these balloon pilots were having fun skimming the lake before they headed up. They compete to see who can sail the highest and the furthest.
The second photo is what Picasso thinks a balloon looks like.
Well, next week we will visit Royal Gorge, home of the world highest suspension bridge and then head to New Mexico.
We hope to hear from you, and that you will be blessed this week.
Love, Pete and Ellen
Photos from Aug 2008