US Trip 2014 – A journy to the top of the world

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The major goal today was to reach the summit of Pikes Peak. If we had time, we also wanted to visit Garden of the Gods.

We started by doing the two webcams in Colorado Springs, the first one on the University and the second one in Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It took us inside the zoo, where we got to feed the giraffes while being photographed by the webcam. This is by far the most fun webcam cache we’ve ever done!

Feeding the giraffe

On the way to Pikes Peak, we stopped by a few virtuals and stopped in Manitou Springs to find some earthcaches. We got something to eat, found an arcade and relaxed a bit before continuing towards Pikes Peak.

One of the earthcaches in Manitou Springs
One of the earthcaches in Manitou Springs

When we arrived at the entrance gate to Pikes Peak, we were given instructions on how to drive up, and down. Watching the elevation plot on the Montana while driving up was a bit special. The only times we’ve climbed this high before have been in airplanes.

We decided to head straight to the top, and stop to find the caches on our way back. It was a long way up, and we had to drive slow so we didn’t overheat the car (or break the speed limit). We also had to drive without AC, but as we got closer to the top, it got colder and colder.

Going up

But the view got better and better! The drive up took about an hour, but was an experience in itself! Parking on 14 110ft (4300m) was a new experience, I’ve never done that before! It was easy to feel the lower oxygen level, and we really had to keep calm to avoid altitude sickness.

After doing the virtual cache, we went inside to shop in Americas highest souvenir shop. After getting the souvenirs, and something to eat, we went back outside to do the earthcache and find the traditional caches here.

I tried to make a photo off me jumping in the air, and I got totally exhausted!

Starting the jump

We took the time we needed, and found two traditionals on the top. The view was simply amazing. Finding the second cache was easier said than done, but since we’re not likely to get back here very soon, we couldn’t give up! Luckily, we found it.

Amazing view

After spending some time on the top, we started the descent back down to Manitou Springs. We stopped at every cache along the road down. Some of them were easy, and some really hard. We spent quite some time looking for one of them, but as with the cache on the top, giving up was not an option! We found every single one, and are really happy with that!

We passed the obligatory brake check, and were allowed to continue. It’s not often I drive this far in the 1st gear!

A virtual with a view, on the way down
A virtual with a view, on the way down

All in all, we spent almost five hours on the trip to Pikes Peak, five hours well spent!

Once we got back down, we decided to redo one of the stages in a virtual cache in Manitou Springs. I had a bad feeling, and was pretty sure that we had found the wrong info. It turned out I was right, and we now had the correct info.

We still had some time left, so we decided to visit Garden of the Gods. We got something to eat at the trading post near the entrance, and decided to only do a small part of the park today and return tomorrow. Before continuing in the park, we found the cache right outside the trading post. We also stumbled over a letterbox!

We went to Balanced Rock, and did the cache there.

Balanced Rock

I even did my part to help hold the rock in place 😉

Keeping the rock balanced

We found one more traditional cache in the park, before heading back to the hotel. It’s been a long and exciting day! But now, were exhausted.

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