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Pikes Peak
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2013-07-30 09:38:03 | Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Keywords: cloud, mountain, train
Yesterday, I've done a day-trip to Colorado Springs, a little town located about 75 miles (125 km) south of Denver. My goal wasn't to visit the city but to take a ride on a very special train and get VERY high (in altitude). I've been up to the summit, at 14 110 feet (4 300 m).

The train itself is special because it's a cog-wheel train. It is pulled up by cogs under the wagons fitting onto a cog bag between the rails. That allows the train to climb the mountain, even with some parts being at 25% incline, which is five times the capability of regular trains.  See picture below to understand how it works.

The 90 minutes climbing was okay, even if I was seated on the bad side of the train. Once up there, the view was pretty spectacular even if it was cloudy (with many clouds being below us). I admit I wasn't too brave to go along the cliff outside cement installations. The drop was a big 2000 feet (650 m). But I did walk around the compound for the half-hour we had up there.

We had a spectacular view of a storm going on over and around Colorado Springs, with the lightening bolts and all.

Before leaving the summit, I toured the gift shop and I bought some of their famous donuts. I don't know why they're famous, but they probably hold the record for the highest-made donuts. They are plain regular donuts, but I bet they have a special recipe to make them rise at an atmospheric pressure much different than at sea level.

At the end of the visit, I was getting a bit dizzy because of the lack of oxygen and I was happy to get aboard the train to go down. But just at boarding time, we were enveloped by a large cloud we saw coming. Being inside a cloud with your feet on the ground, was pretty special. I tried to take pictures, but nothing came out but whiteness. Feeling that intense humidity that might fall into rain a few km below us later was exciting.

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