We ascended the Pikes Peak Highway today, with all three kids in tow. Sophie was asleep as we reached the summit, so our photo by the elevation marker only shows her big brother and big sister.
The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile road, mostly paved, but with few guard rails. This road, built in the 1880s as a carriage road to serve the U.S. Army Signal Corps weather station at the summit, was improved in 1915 at a cost of $500,000. The following year, 1916, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race was established -- the second oldest auto race in the U.S. (only the Indy 500 is older). The road was operated privately for 20 years, charging $2 per person, but never realized a profit due to the tremendous cost of snow removal.
Shelby's planned mode of ascent (and descent) the next time she visits the summit:
(She did not enjoy the drive as much as I did....)
From the summit, we had a compelling view of Garden of the Gods:
We did not see much wildlife, perhaps due to the dense snowpack still covering much of the summit. However, the Gatehouse signs said there had been a fox sighted between mile markers 10 and 13. Sure enough, just before mile marker 13 (and next to the parking lot for the Glen Cove Inn, where descending motorists have their brake temperature checked to ensure they can safely proceed), we saw the fox laying beside the road. His demeanor was more akin to a friendly dog than a fox.
Of course, no visit to the Pike National Forest is complete without a picnic by the shore of Crystal Creek Reservoir!