When we first arrived in Colorado on Thursday night, the sun was shining in our eyes and a significant amount of haze had dropped over the highest peaks of the Rockies, so our views weren't the greatest. But on Friday morning, we awoke to the clearest, most perfect mountain day.
Our hostess in Colorado Springs was Sandy, who had been my youth pastor in high school. With her husband and three daughters (Marguerite is the one pictured below), she moved to CO five years ago and it seems to be suiting her quite well.
Sandy, Jim and the girls are all about the outdoors these days: mountain biking, hiking, camping. They do it all. Just a few weeks ago, Sandy and her Daughter celebrated her 5oth birthday by climbing pike's peak.
But since mom and I aren't quite as advanced at trailblazing, Sandy drove us up the pike's peak highway instead.
We stopped near the base to get this beautiful shot of our destination (Pike's is the peak on the far right).
and then continued on up.
Until we were in the clouds.
At the peak, we stopped to take in the view. Wowzers!
We also posed for lots of touristy pictures.
And, at Sandy's enthusiastic recommendation, bought some doughnuts.
Apparently, these donuts are world famous-- made with a special recipe to accommodate for baking conditions at 14,110 feet.
I photographed mine (Surprise!) and then stuffed my face! (Calories count less at higher altitudes, right)
After the peak, we stopped by Bristol Brewing Company a local brewery that Sandy's husband Jim raved about. I got a 5 beer sampler, and even Leslie, beer hater extraordinaire, found a brew that she could stomach. My favorite was the Laughing Lab, a Scottish ale that reminded me of my college favorite The Smokin' Scottish, yet another thing i'll always miss about the 'burg.
However, it should be noted that beer in the afternoon when your body is still adjusting to altitude changes may not be the brightest idea, and I ended up feeling a little woozy for the rest of the afternoon. My apologies for the fact that I was only able to get two decent photos after that. Photography and booze don't mix so well.
The last stop on our whirlwind tour of Colorado Springs was Garden of the Gods, so named by the Indians who worshiped at the site's magnificent rock formations.
Pictures don't do this place justice. It was stunning.
We finally left Sandy and co. at dinnertime, and headed through Denver to the home of some more family friends outside of Boulder, where I finally got a good night's sleep (no more 5am cry fests! Yay!). We'll head to Boulder for more adventures this afternoon. Stay tuned.