Today we visited the Garden of the Gods and then we took a train ride on the Pike's Peak Cog Railroad up to the summit of Pike's Peak, over 14,000 feet high. The train climbs the side of the mountain, at sometimes up to a 25% grade... and the views on the 3.5 hour round-trip are amazing. Seats were assigned on our tickets, but somehow my hubby and I got super lucky and ended up with the seats in the very back of the train facing backwards through the big windows. On the way down, our seats were in the front. What great views!
In terms of wildlife, we only saw some deer and some yellow-bellied marmots (so cute!) but the wildflowers on the way up were gorgeous! Unfortunately, a big lightning storm blew in just as we reached the summit and we had to spend most of our time at the top in the shelter building/gift shop so we didn't get struck by lightning, but we were able to hop out and take a few photos at the end. However, the storm wasn't quite past and our views weren't very good due to the rain and the fog (on a clear day you can see 5 different states from the top... but we could hardly tell we were on a mountain!). We tried some "famous" high-altitude (overpriced, but yummy) donuts at the top and then we headed back down. What a fun trip.
One of the neatest things was that on the way down, we crossed paths with another train and since we were in the front we were waving at the passengers... and one of my roommates from college was on the train with her family! She recognized me and we waved excitedly. What are the chances? It really is a small world.