52 Rolls Week 31:52

This week Holga goes above the Tree Line to the Summit of Pikes Peak:


We took a Journey on the Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway for my mother-in-law’s 80th Birthday.  There was a lot to see on the way up, but not worthwhile to take photographs through the tinted window (although you will see a couple of those later).  So I’ll share with you our time above the tree line.

One stop on the way up, Windy Point, was a residence for maintenance workers above the Tree line (12,129 ft):


The Supervisor and his family lived on the left side and 20 or so workers lived in a bunkhouse on the right side of the building.  These are the only two images marred by shooting through the glass.WindyPoint2

And let’s see the little ladies at the summit, because they are just too cute:


Mom-in-law (left) with my 92 year old Mom (right) at 14,110 feet.  The oldest person to take the train to the summit was 104 years old. Now let’s look around:


Above, literally “The End of the Line”.  You can see the cogs that the engines use to pull the train up the slope and prevent it from slipping downslope.  Some  grades as steep as 68%; average grade 40%.


We road in a two-car train.  They also have single car trains.  Below: Monument for Katherine Lee Bates, whose trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893 on a teacher’s tour (by wagon and riding mules for the last part) inspired her to quickly jot down a poem, later set to music as “America the Beautiful”:


Oh Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…” and on a clear day you can see those amber waves of grain (and all the way to Kansas).  But we were there on a stormy day:


And we end with a sad fact.  The road to Pikes peak was gravel until a couple of years ago.  Pavement has brought the crowds.  As the song says “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…..“.  Before the paving, at most you would see a dozen cars up hear at once.


Historical Note:  Let’s give a shout out to Zebulon Pike, whose expedition to map the southern Louisiana Purchase doesn’t get much notice compared to Lewis and Clark.  In 1806, Pike’s Expedition attempted to climb the Peak, but were ill equipped for subzero weather and turned back.  It was 50 F on our visit, actually quite warm.

Tech Info: Holga 120N, Kodak T-MAX 400, developed and scanned by Old School Photo Labs.

8 thoughts on “52 Rolls Week 31:52

  1. Wonderful! There’s an odd Canadian connection to Pike’s Peak, Zebulon Pike, the general for whom the summit is named, died in what is now Toronto, Ontario in 1813 during the American invasion of the town. His grave is in a small cemetery in Sacketts Harbor, New York.


        • I’d love to read it when it’s done. My husband and I were remarking the other day that we don’t learn much about that war in school here. Other than providing the inspiration for our rather overblown national anthem, we don’t know much. In fact we ended up doing some internet research to discover the causes as we couldn’t recall much. A pretty interesting affair, but not so patriotically stirring as the War of Independence, which is probably why it’s kind of the forgotten war.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Alex,

    Yes I read about Zebulon’s unfortunate end, but I decided to end his story here on a sort of positive note. Actually most of the explorer’s sent out by Jefferson to map the Louisiana Purchase had sad ends (Meriwether Lewis included). Zebulon Pike’s was at least an ‘honorable death’.


  3. Nice photos and some really interesting information. I’ve never been anywhere near there….but now it’s on my list for the “someday” ultimate road trip.


    • Depending on where you drive from, there’s a lot of ‘Kansas’ between the Missouri River and the Front Range…..very flat and empty.


  4. It was a wonderful 80th birthday treat for us and I’m ready to go back to see Santa later this year!!! Good planning by my family


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