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Colorado Day 6
8 Aug 2017
We began our second full day in Colorado Springs with a ride on the historic Pike's Peak Cog Railway. This marvel of Swiss engineering took us from Manitou Springs up to the 14,000 foot summit. At some points, the front and rear of the 2 car train are several stories above/below each other. The temperature at the summit was about 30 degrees cooler than where we started and there was even some snow up there. Despite looking down on some cloud cover below us, there were amazing views from up there. After the train ride back down, we drove to the US Air Force Academy. We were lucky enough to be able to wait out a few massive thunderstorms in the visitor center before taking a self-guided tour of the campus and walking some the trails to get a close-up look at the campus.

(click any photo for a larger version)

DAY 5 | COLORADO INDEX | DAY 7
06-001 Mountains 06-003 Mountains 06-005 Manitou Springs
The early morning view from our hotel in Colorado Springs
The early morning view from our hotel in Colorado Springs
On our way through Manitou Springs
06-006 Manitou Springs 06-008 Cog Railway Sign 06-009 Cog Railway Depot
On our way through Manitou Springs
Arriving at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs for our ride to the summit of Pike's Peak
Arriving at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs for our ride to the summit of Pike's Peak
06-010 Cog Railway Depot 06-011 Cog Railway Tracks 06-012 Cog Railway Station
Arriving at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs for our ride to the summit of Pike's Peak
Waiting for our cog railway train to arrive
Waiting for our cog railway train to arrive
06-013 Leadville Sign 06-015 Cog Railway Model 06-016 Cog Railway Track
We were assigned to the Leadville car aboard the cog railway train
Cog trains are an engineering marvel
The cog trains uses these specialized tracks to clicmb the 14,000 feet to the top of Pike's Peak
06-017 Swiss Railway Clock 06-018 Cog Train 06-020 Cog Train
Swiss made cog trains warrant a Swiss Railroad clock
Here comes our cog railway train!
Here comes our cog railway train!
06-021 Cog Railway Logo 06-023 Hummingbirds 06-024 View from Cog Railway
Here comes our cog railway train!
More hummingbirds! They're so plentiful in Colorado.
On our way to the top of Pike's Peak
06-026 View from Cog Railway 06-030 View from Cog Railway 06-031 Mountains & Clouds
On our way to the top of Pike's Peak
It's not all just rock on the way up Pike's Peak
The views get better as we go
06-032 View from Cog Railway 06-033 View from Cog Railway 06-034 Lake
Slowly climbing above the treeline
So many rocks!
Looking down on a mountain lake
06-035 View from Cog Railway 06-037 Cog Railway Track 06-038 Marmot
We're above the treeline
The cog railroad staff work to get us to the summit
Looking more and more like tundra as we go higher.
06-039 Cog Train 06-041 Cog Train 06-042 View from Cog Railway
Passing another cog train
Passing another cog train
The views are spectacular from up here
06-043 View from Cog Railway 06-044 Lake & Mountains 06-045 Cog Railway Track
And now we're above the clouds!
The views are spectacular from up here
Getting closer and closer to the summit of Pike's Peak
06-047 Gold Mine 06-050 View from Pike's Peak 06-051 Deboarding at Pike's Peak
An open pit gold mine on a neighboring mountain
We've arrived at the summit!
Deboarding the cog train at the summit of Pike's Peak
06-052 View from Pike's Peak 06-053 Pano View from Pike's Peak 06-056 Snow on Rocks
Words don't describe the views from the summit of Pike's Peak
A panorama of the view from Pike's Peak
There's snow up here!
06-057 Snow & View from Pike's Peak 06-058 View from Pike's Peak 06-059 Pano View from Pike's Peak
Snow and an amazing view. Who could ask for more?
Words don't describe the views from the summit of Pike's Peak
A panorama of the view from Pike's Peak
06-060 Pike's Peak Summit Sign 06-064 Mom in Bear Cutout 06-065 Stuffed Bigfoot
We're over 14,000 feet for the second time this week. Oxygen? Who needs oxygen?
My mother cannot resist these things
I'm pretty sure you can't take this bigfoot on the train down if you buy it.
06-066 Stuffed Bighorn Sheep 06-067 America the Beautiful Monument 06-071 View from Pike's Peak
We finally saw a bighorn sheep. Now if we'd just see a real one.
Who knew that America the Beautiful was based on Colorado.
It really does feel like the top of the world up here
06-072 Clouds 06-073 View from Pike's Peak 06-074 Cog Train
Clouds keep passing through
It really does feel like the top of the world up here
Our ride to the top of the world
06-075 Michael at Pike's Peak Summit 06-076 Mom at Pike's Peak Summit 06-078 Cog Train
Hanging out at 14,000 feet
My mother at 14,000 feet
Our ride to the top of the world
06-079 Cog Train & Track 06-080 Cog Railway Track 06-082 Icy Conditions Sign
Getting a closer look at the specialized tracks the cog trains use to climb the 14,000 feet to the top of Pike's Peak
Getting a closer look at the specialized tracks the cog trains use to climb the 14,000 feet to the top of Pike's Peak
Aint that the truth!
06-083 Cog Railway Track 06-086 Lake 06-090 Railway Workers
The tracks run right to the top of the mountain
Looking down on a mountain lake
It has to be tough work on the tracks at this altitude
06-092 Mountain Goat 06-095 Mountain Goat 06-096 Mountain Goat
A mountain goat on the way down the mountain
Baby mountain goat! Need I say more?
Baby mountain goat! Need I say more?
06-097 Mountains & Cog Railway Tracks 06-098 Windy Point 06-100 Marmot
The views are just as spectacular on the way down
Passing Windy Point on the way down Pike's Peak
A marmot running around on Pike's Peak
06-101 Minnehaha Sign 06-102 Trees & Rocks 06-103 Mountains
We're down to 8,000 feet at Minnehaha
The rocks around here are massive
The rocks around here are massive
06-105 Miramont Castle 06-106 Air Force Academy Sign 06-107 Cadet Chapel
We drove past Miramont Castle on the way out of Manitou Springs
Our next destination was the US Air Force Academy
The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building aboard the US Air Force Academy.
06-109 Cadet Chapel 06-111 Falcon Stadium Sign 06-112 Falcon Stadium Sign
Looking out over the US Air Force Academy
Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force's football team
Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force's football team
06-113 Dorm Room Display 06-114 Falcon Statue 06-117 Cadet Chapel
The living quarters of a typical Air Force Academy cadet
This hand-carved wooden falcon actually came from New Jersey
The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building aboard the US Air Force Academy.
06-118 Cadets 06-119 Cadets 06-121 Terrazzo
Cadets follow the lines of the terrazzo as they move from one class to the next
Cadets follow the lines of the terrazzo as they move from one class to the next
Looking out over the terrazzo
06-122 Building & Mountains 06-123 Cadet Chapel 06-125 Cadet Chapel Interior
The US Air Force Academy could not be in a more picturesque setting
The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building aboard the US Air Force Academy.
The Cadet Chapel is just as eye-catching on the inside
06-127 Cadet Chapel 06-128 Cadet Chapel 06-130 Cadet Chapel Interior
Looking up at the ceiling and stained glass of the Cadet Chapel
The back of the Cadet Chapel houses a massive pipe organ
The pews' shape mirrors that of the chapel iteself. They look like they're ready to soar into the sky.
06-131 Reserved Pew Sign 06-132 Cadet Chapel Interior 06-135 Catholic Chapel
One pew is reserved in honor of those who are prisoners of war or missing in action.
A combination of frosted and stained glass windows give the chapel a blue hue
Under the main chapel lies a smaller Catholic chapel
06-136 Jewish Chapel 06-138 Buddhist Chapel 06-141 Cadet Chapel
A Jewish chapel lies beneath the main chapel
A small Buddhist chapel is below the main chapel
The exterior of the Cadet Chapel points skyward
06-143 Terrazzo, Building & Mountains 06-144 F-16 Display 06-145 Terrazzo
The US Air Force Academy could not be in a more picturesque setting
A static display of an F-16 fighter jet sits along the edge of the terrazzo
The massive terrazzo where US Air Force Academy cadets move from one class to another
06-146 Polaris Hall 06-147 Cadet Chapel 06-148 USAF 50th Anniversary Plaque
Polaris Hall points directly to the star for which it's named
The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building aboard the US Air Force Academy.
Plaques commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Academy
06-152 Honor Court 06-153 Cadet Chapel 06-154 Athletic Fields
The honor court and its many airplane statues
The Cadet Chapel is the most recognizable building aboard the US Air Force Academy.
Looking out over the athletic fields
06-165 B-52 Display 06-166 Colorado Springs Sign 06-168 USAF Acedemy Airfield Tower
The B-52 static display is an Academy landmark
Heading back toward Colorado Springs
The tower at the US Air Force Academy's airfield
06-169 Falcon Stadium
Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force's football team

DAY 5 | COLORADO INDEX | DAY 7

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